CFL - Hugh Charles leads the way, in Eskimos crucial win over Roughriders
By Rob Soria
Running back Hugh Charles led the way with 152 yards on the ground and a touchdown, as the Edmonton Eskimos beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 37-20 at Commonwealth Stadium, in Saturday afternoon Canadian Football League action.
Edmonton - October 13, 2012 - For the second straight week, the Edmonton Eskimos decided to mix things up on the offensive side of the ball and for second straight week, came away with huge win. Running back Hugh Charles ran for 152 yards and a major, while Fred Stamps found the end zone for the third consecutive week, leading the Eskimos to a crucial 37-20 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Saturday afternoon Canadian Football League action.
Quarterback Kerry Joseph responded with another strong performance, using his entire receiving core throughout the afternoon, throwing for 280 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. Joseph continues to prove his critics wrong, myself included, after being named the Esks starting QB for the remainder of the season, by head coach Kavis Reed.
To be fair, as good as the veteran QB has been over Edmonton's last eight quarters of football, it has been the re-emergence of Charles, as a key figure in the Green and Gold's attack, that has changed everything. While both fans and critics were perplexed with the Eskimos unwillingness to run the football over a five week stretch, no one was likely more confused than the twenty-six year old running back.
Charles work on the ground not only opened up the passing game for Joseph but also allowed the Esks to win the possession game, for one of the very few times this season. While his 27 yard touchdown scamper, early in the third quarter, set the tone for the second half. It was his continual ability to find ways to either keep drives alive or start them off with quality runs, that made things far easier for the Green and Gold.
Not surprisingly, with the offence on the field for large stretches of time, the Eskimos defence started looking like the D, that was arguably the league's best, in the opening third of the season. Considering the Riders were as a hot a team as you could find in the CFL, Edmonton made it look rather easy on both sides of the football.
The defensive line that has been absolutely brutal in recent weeks, rebounded with their best performance in arguably two months. Joe Burnett picked up his league leading sixth interception of the season and J.C. Sheritt returned to action in style, adding four more tackles to his league leading total of 108, while picking up his fourth interception of the year, for good measure.
With the win, Edmonton not only moved four points clear of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the race for the final CFL playoff spot, via the crossover, but also leaves them just two points back of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for third place in the West Division. A team that looked to be dead in the water, all of three weeks ago, has suddenly transformed themselves back into a legitimate playoff threat.
If the Eskimos continue to commit to the run and manage to get some of their injured bodies on the defensive side of the football, back in the lineup, they will be handful for any team in the Canadian Football League to deal with. Grey Cup contenders? Hardly but they are more than capable of pulling off a playoff upset...if they can get through these next three weeks.
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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