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Eskimos 5-0 for first time in 31 years

Jul 30, 2011 - 6:19 AM Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Ricky Ray threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Edmonton Eskimos to a thrilling, 26-25 victory over the Toronto Argonauts at Commonwealth Stadium.

With the win the Eskimos move to 5-0 to start a season for the first time since 1980.

Fred Stamps had another big game for Edmonton, as the receiver hauled in eight passes for 101 yards and one score. Marcus Henry also collected his first-ever CFL touchdown in the win and finished with 66 yards on seven receptions.

The Argonauts (1-4) were more ground oriented in this contest, as the team relied heavily on Chad Kackert, who rushed for 139 yards and two scores. Kackert was severely needed because the passing attack was inconsistent. Quarterback Dalton Bell threw for just 156 yards and was intercepted twice.

"Sometimes I felt like I was trying to do too much. The two picks were huge. They didn't help us out at all," Bell said.

The Eskimos struck first in the matchup, but it was only a single off the foot of Damon Duval.

It took the Argonauts only five plays to answer back, as Kackert rumbled into the end zone for an 11-yard score.

Kackert struck again in the second stanza, as he found pay dirt on an eight- yard scamper, giving Toronto a surprising 14-1 edge. That score was followed by a 35-yard field goal by Grant Shaw.

It took nearly the entire first half, but the Eskimos started to find their way offensively and found the end zone late in the second stanza.

Led by Ray, the Eskimos drove 75 yards in less than two minutes and capped off the eight-play drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from Ray to Henry.

After a quick two-and-out by Toronto, Ray and company went back to work with just 30 seconds remaining in the first half. However, that is all the time Edmonton's offense needed, as Kerry Joseph plunged into the end zone on a one- yard run to send the Eskimos into the break trailing 17-15.

The third quarter was dominated by defensive play, and the only points in the frame came off the feet of Duval and Shaw, as both kickers added a single for their respective teams.

Toronto was marching down field towards the end of the third quarter, but Bell made a major mistake in the final seconds, tossing an interception in the end zone to end the quarter.

The Eskimos were unable to capitalize on the turnover though and had to punt the ball away, and Toronto's Matt Black made Edmonton pay, as he returned the kick 81 yards for a score, pushing the Argos' lead to 25-16 early in the fourth frame.

After the punt return the defense for Toronto forced the Eskimos to go two- and-out on their next possession, but instead of getting a chance to add to their lead the Argos handed the ball right over to Edmonton.

Looking to gain some yards for his team, Chad Owens took the punt from Edmonton, but was instantly stripped, giving the football right back to the Eskimos.

On the fourth play after the turnover Ray connected with Stamps for what appeared to be a big touchdown, but instead Toronto challenged the catch and it was eventually overturned.

While the Eskimos did not claim a touchdown the team did settle for a 24-yard field goal by Duval, cutting the team's deficit to 25-19.

Edmonton's defense did its job and shut down Toronto, forcing a punt and giving the ball back to Ray and the offense.

The veteran signal caller took care of the rest, and this time he made sure him and Stamps connected for a big play.

That is exactly what happened on the team's fifth play of the drive, as Ray hit Stamps with a 21-yard scoring strike. Duval's extra point was also successful, giving the Eskimos their first lead since the opening frame.

The Argos had a chance in the final seconds to regain the lead, but Shaw's 57- yard attempt did not come close to giving the Argos the victory.

"We know we have to play football for four quarters, we have to keep fighting," Stamps said of Edmonton's resilience.

Game Notes

The win was the sixth straight home victory for the Eskimos dating back to last season...Edmonton has scored points in 21 consecutive quarters...Ray moved into fifth place in the CFL record books in pass completions, passing Doug Flutie.