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The Redblacks have no problem being seen as the underdogs as they prepare to host the Edmonton Eskimos in the East final. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Redblacks have no problem being seen as the underdogs as they prepare to host the Edmonton Eskimos in the East final. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Redblacks hope rest, home field will help counter Eskimo offence Add to ...

The Ottawa RedBlacks know it will come down to details Sunday afternoon when they host the Edmonton Eskimos in the East Division CFL final.

After clinching the East Division three weeks ago the RedBlacks had the advantage of getting some rest and preparing for the Eskimos’ explosive offence, which finished second in the league with 549 points.

“They’re a tough matchup, but our guys are planning on rising to the occasion,” said head coach Rick Campbell. “We fully expect them to mix things up, running the ball, throwing the ball. It’s up to us now. It’s about being 60 minutes away from getting to the Grey Cup so I know our guys are getting excited about it.”

Edmonton QB Mike Reilly was questionable to start earlier in the week, but has confirmed he’s ready and will play. Reilly led the league with 5,554 passing yards and Ottawa’s defence will need to make his life miserable to have any hope of keeping this game close.

“I think he’s the best player on their team,” said defensive end Arnaud Gascon-Nadon. “It comes down to it’s a football game and we know that if you want to beat Edmonton you’ve got to beat up a little bit on their QB so we’re definitely going to try and get there as fast as we can and stay there all game long.”

Reilly found incredible success this season with receivers Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker, who finished first and second respectively in the league. Bowman led the league with 120 receptions for 1,761 yards, while Walker had 109 for 1,589 yards.

“I just think it’s about us doing what we do,” defensive back Jerrell Gavins said. “It’s not stopping them, it’s us trying to make plays. We’re not trying to survive; we’re trying to thrive. It’s competing, having fun and winning on every rep.”

While Reilly has had great success throwing the ball, Edmonton’s running game has been just as good with John White leading the way.

The running back is fourth in the league with 886 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Most important for the RedBlacks will be its ability to play smart and not allow emotions to get the best of them, leading to costly penalties that could cost them the game.

Ottawa was seventh in the nine-team league with 199 penalties, but working in its favour is the fact Edmonton was worse with 206.

“We know we need to play our best football,” said safety Antoine Pruneau. “You can almost sense a bit of a different energy in the room and it’s very positive. We know what’s at stake.”

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