Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a third as the Eskimos defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 30-20 in a torrential downpour during CFL action on Sunday night.
Hugh Charles had two touchdowns and Fred Stamps added one for Edmonton while CJ Gable and Ed Gant scored for Hamilton.
Hamilton QB Henry Burris had one TD pass and two interceptions, while Hamilton kicker Luca Congi made two of three field-goal attempts, from 39 and 26 yards, and missed from 42.
Edmonton improved to 1-1 after a 39-18 loss to Saskatchewan last week. After putting up 34 points in last week’s 39-34 loss to Toronto, the Ticats (0-2) could only muster 20 points in the weather.
It was the Ticats’ home opener at Alumni Stadium, home to the University of Guelph Gryphons, which was temporarily expanded this season to seat a capacity 13,000, while a new stadium is built in Hamilton.
Game attendance for the home opener was announced as 12,612, but most of those made a run for it when the rains came heavy in the second quarter.
Charles looked to be in the doghouse when he fumbled the opening kickoff and the Ticats recovered at the Edmonton 40-yard line. But they couldn’t convert as Congi missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt and Edmonton ran it out. The Esks scored on the ensuing possession as Charles redeemed himself with a 70-yard TD run.
Edmonton jumped out to a 16-0 lead after scoring a safety followed by an 11-yard TD grab by Stamps to finish a 61-yard, five-play drive. Hamilton’s Gable drove the ball in from the two-yard line to cap a 38-yard drive, aided by two penalties against Edmonton including pass interference in the end zone, to make it 16-7 before the downpour came to end the quarter.
Congi hit field goals from 39 and 26 yards as the Ticats picked away at the lead during a second quarter where the field was barely playable. Edmonton led 16-13 at the half.
Neither team got much going to start the second half as the rain continued to pour. But Edmonton’s T.J. Hill intercepted Burris midway through the third quarter on the Hamilton 27 and the Esks needed three plays before Reilly found Charles for the 13-yard score. Edmonton led 23-13 heading into the fourth.
Five minutes into the fourth, Reilly capped an 83-yard drive with a 12-yard TD run giving Edmonton a 30-13 lead. The Ticats answered with Gant, who showed up in Hamilton from Edmonton just this week, catching a 40-yard TD pass from Burris to pull to 30-20 with 6:22 left.