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Eskimos advance with win over Stampeders

Nov 14, 2011 - 4:15 AM
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Ricky Ray threw for 245 yards and a touchdown as the Edmonton Eskimos advanced to the West Division Championship with a 33-19 decision over the Calgary Stampeders.

Edmonton will face the British Columbia Lions at BC Place next Sunday with the hope of reaching its first title game since winning the Grey Cup in 2005.

Ray completed 19-of-27 passes, including four to Adarius Bowman for 93 yards and four to Jason Barnes for 55 yards and a score.

Drew Tate started the game for Calgary but was replaced at the half after completing just 5-of-10 pass attempts for 99 yards with an interception and a lost fumble. Henry Burris led the offense in the second half but didn't fare much better, going 7-of-15 through the air for 75 yards.

"Maybe [Tate's] pride got hurt but we just tried to change quarterbacks hopefully to try and change some momentum on offense," Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel said.

Jon Cornish scored the lone touchdown for the Stampeders while running for 127 yards on 14 carries. Rene Paredes connected on all three of his field goal attempts in defeat.

After a 38-yard Derek Schiavone field goal gave the Eskimos a 3-1 lead with less than six minutes left in the first quarter, Larry Taylor took the ensuing kickoff 64 yards down to the Edmonton 32. Tate was picked off two plays later to spoil the great field position.

Calgary was held to a quick punt, though, and Romby Bryant's 58-yard reception down the right sideline set up Cornish's five-yard scamper into the end zone for an 8-3 Stampeder lead late in the first.

The Stampeders threatened to extend their lead on their next possession, but Tate dropped the ball as he was moving to his left while looking downfield, and Damaso Munoz picked up the loose ball, taking it 76 yards for a touchdown.

Jerome Messam's seven-yard rush into the end zone preceded Barnes' four-yard TD reception to give the Eskimos a commanding 25-9 lead at the half.

Paredes snuck a 52-yard field goal over the crossbar on the Stampeders' first possession of the second half and later connected on kicks of 42 and 23 yards to bring Calgary within 26-19 early in the fourth quarter.

After the Eskimos failed to convert a 37-yard field goal because the holder mishandled the snap, Calgary took over at its own three with a little over a minute left in regulation with a chance to tie the game.

But Burris threw two incomplete passes before being sacked at the one-yard line to turn the ball over on downs and Calvin McCarty sealed the win for Edmonton by rumbling into the end zone for the score.

"I can truly say that our defense stepped up to the plate tonight," Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said. "Absolutely phenomenal playoff game by our defense."

Game Notes

Messam left the game with a left knee injury in the third quarter...This was the 11th time the two teams had met in the Western Semifinals with Edmonton holding a 6-5 lead in the series...Edmonton improved to 11-0 this season when leading after three quarters...Munoz's touchdown was the first of his career.