EDMONTON — Offence was certainly not in short supply in Edmonton on Saturday.
Quarterback Mike Reilly ran in three touchdowns and passed for three more as the Edmonton Eskimos snapped a two-game losing skid in a tense 48-42 victory over the Calgary Stampeders.
With the win, the Eskimos improved to 7-4.
“It was not a comfortable feeling at the end,” admitted Eskimos head coach Jason Maas.
“But I have a ton of confidence in our defence and had a good feeling in my gut that it was going to happen at some point that we were going to get it, and we did.
“It was a great game, one of the most exciting games I have ever been a part of. And I thought we played well in all three phases of the game.”
The Stampeders (9-2) had a two-game winning streak halted.
“When you play a game where you are just not at your best and giving the other team a lot of opportunities, and a team that played really well, you are probably not going to win,” said Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson.
“We probably should have lost by 20, but for us to fight like that says a lot about our team.”
Calgary won the first half of the Labour Day series 23-20 with a last-second field goal on Monday.
Reilly finished 30-for-44 with 397 yards, while his counterpart Bo Levi Mitchell was 25-for-46 for 491 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
“When we play against Calgary, we expect it to be down to the wire,” Reilly said.
“Last game, they won on a field goal with no time on the clock. This game, we won on an incompletion with no time on the clock. But it’s a credit to both teams knowing how big this game is and the fight in the other team until the very end.”
In a wild first quarter, Edmonton got off to a good start on its first possession as a 41-yard passing strike from quarter Reilly to Duke Williams was capped off by a two-yard touchdown plunge by Reilly.
Calgary responded quickly as Mitchell found DaVaris Daniels for a 77-yard pass and run into the end zone.
The Eskimos regained the lead after a comedy of errors on a Stamps punt return led to a turnover to Natey Adjei and a subsequent 29-yard TD pass to Williams.
Edmonton scored its third touchdown of the game with six minutes remaining in the opening quarter after an interception by Forrest Hightower led to a four-yard TD pass to Vidal Hazelton.
Calgary got a pick of its own from Tay Glover-Wright, leading to a three-yard TD run by Romar Morris.
Sean Whyte kicked a 52-yard field goal four minutes into the third for the Esks, and added a one-yard TD plunge by Reilly. Calgary responded with a 41-yard TD pass to Marken Michel to make it 31-21 at the half.
Whyte kicked a 23-yard field goal to start the third, but Calgary came right back on the next play with a 75-yard rushing major by Morris.
Reilly scored his third TD of the game from the one-yard line with five minutes left in the third and passed for yet another three minutes later when a Mercy Maston interception led to a six-yard TD pass to Kenny Stafford.
Calgary scored in the fourth after Mitchell recovered from a slip and threw a 32-yard TD pass to Morris.
The Stamps then closed to within six points on an eight-yard TD pass to Morris — his fourth TD of the game — but could not complete the last-second comeback.
“They were in a position to take the game away early, but I am proud of the way our guys fought to the end and made the comeback,” Mitchell said.
The Stampeders will return to action next Saturday when they travel to Hamilton. The Eskimos are entering a bye week.
Notes: Both teams were without star receivers lost in the first half of the home-and-home series on Monday in Calgary. The Stampeders lost Kamar Jorden for the season with a knee injury, while the Esks lost Derel Walker for six to eight weeks, also to a knee injury… The officially announced crowd of 38,611 at Commonwealth Stadium was the largest in the CFL this season.