What appeared to be a game going in Edmonton’s favour last week in Calgary during the annual Labour Day Classic took a turn for the worse. Call it what you like. Is it an Edmonton collapse, or the fact that the Calgary were resilient in a come-from-behind victory?
Probably a bit of both.
The Edmonton Elks had the Calgary Stampeders on the ropes with an impressive defence that was shutting down the Calgary running game. More importantly, they had Jake Maier in check as he was unable to find his rhythm for the majority of the game.
But. And yes, as there is always a but; the Edmonton Elks took a turn for the worse in that they would falter at the worst time during the 4th quarter. On both sides of the ball, the Edmonton Elks surrendered 22 points and were only able to muster 3 points offensively to close out the game.
Jaike Maier found his inner never-say-die attitude in which he was a man on a mission to do whatever he could to salvage the Calgary Stampeders season. Jake Maier would connect with multiple passes that had the Elks’ defence appear to look too disoriented. In the end, the Calgary Stampeders would be victorious in a 35-31 come-from-behind win. Calgary was able to wear down the Edmonton defence during the 4th quarter, along with a combination of Edmonton taking bad penalties at the wrong time that appeared to seal their fate on Labour Day.
For the Edmonton Elks, this is without a doubt the fourth game this season in which they let a game slip away when playing well enough to snag a victory. It appeared to be shades of past games this season such as week 1 vs. Saskatchewan (17-13 loss), week 5 vs. Saskatchewan (12-11 loss), Week 10 vs Winnipeg (38-29 loss), and just recently in week 13 as mentioned vs. Calgary.
The one huge positive for Edmonton during the Labour Day Classic was how effective the execution of the running game was in Calgary. Edmonton had 239 combined rushing yards against a Calgary defence that was exposed by Tre Ford breaking the single-game rushing record of 135 yards by a Canadian quarterback. The previous record was set by the great Russ Jackson who set the record in 1964 while with the Ottawa Rough Riders. The offensive line fought for every gain forward in an impressive way of outmuscling the Calgary front seven in letting running back Kevin Brown scamper for a total of 89 yards.
The Edmonton Elks (2-10) will host the Calgary Stampeders (4-8) in the Battle of Alberta in the re-match of the Labour Day Classic. As much as last week’s result hurt, the Edmonton Elks did show a lot of growth moving forward in their last three games. It is also another game that the Elks’ can obtain a victory with the all-round level of play that has collectively shown an impressive turnaround after falling to defeat in their first nine games of the 2023 season.
Date / Location: Saturday, September 9th, 2023 / Commonwealth Stadium / Edmonton, Alberta
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM EST
Channel: TSN / TSN+
Temperature: 21 Degrees Celsius, will feel like 21 Degrees Celsius.
Wind Gust: 20 Kilometres per hour
Percentage of Precipitation: 10%
Spread: Edmonton Elks -2.5 Calgary Stampeders +2.5
Money line: Edmonton Elks (-142) Calgary Stampeders (+118)
Over / Under: Over 48.5 (-110) / Under 48.5 (-110)
Edmonton Elks Week 14 Depth Chart vs. Calgary Stampeders
Note: As of now, the Calgary Stampeders have not released their depth chart for week 14 at the Edmonton Elks.
Injury Report Edmonton Elks
Injury Report Calgary Stampeders
Louchiez Purifoy, who was listed as limited on Wednesday, has been cleared to play from a calf injury via the depth chart.
A.C. Leonard, who was listed as Did Not Practice (DND) from a neck injury on Wednesday, has also been cleared to play via the depth chart.
Both players will be needed when they square off against Calgary.
Players to Watch
Tre Ford: At times last week Tre Ford looked untouchable vs. Calgary. And he was. However, if he can save some of his stamina for later in the game, it would be beneficial. A lot of times football is a game of taking what is given to you. And that is true. If Tre Ford can chip away at the Calgary defence with his passing game a bit more, then this will confuse the Calgary defence as they will look at the fact that he will be too run-heavy. With that said, if it is not broken, don’t fix it. He had the Calgary defence gassed on a few plays which put Edmonton in a good situation in extending drives from the first quarter, going into the mid-third quarter.
Kevin Brown: Asking for the running game collectively to match or surpass the 239 total rushing yards will be unrealistic. With that said, Kevin Brown was a monster in pounding the ball northbound. He will have to be a contributing factor again against Calgary. The Edmonton offensive line created good holes, along with penetrating the Calgary defensive line in pushing Kevin Brown further down the field. It will be a combination of both again tomorrow night. Look for Kevin Brown to have a big game, and take some of the pressure off of Tre Ford.
Micah Awe: He was kept in check for a good part of the game. But, he made up for it when the game mattered most last week in halting Edmonton in the 4th quarter last week. He will give you a disguised / spy look on the field which causes a lot of confusion for an attacking offense. The Edmonton offensive line will have their hands full again in trying to limit Michah Awe’s production.
Reggie Begelton: Last week Reggie Begelton came up with clutch catches in clutch moments. This is what he does. And he does it well. The Edmonton secondary is going to have to be at their best in matching him stride for stride. The last thing Edmonton wants to do is fall behind the eight ball at the wrong time. They cannot afford for Reggie Begelton to get into his groove and run with it for the majority of the game.
Oddly, this is the second and final game that the Edmonton Elks will be scheduled against the Calgary Stampeders for the 2023 season. Both fan bases are used to playing against each other three to four times in a season. But schedules are schedules.
The Calgary Stampeders took a very important step this season in obtaining their fourth win in 2023. The win was big in which they now sit four games below the 500 winning percentage. And going down the stretch for the remainder of the 2023 season, you have to collect as many wins as possible.
For the Edmonton Elks, it’s business as usual. The mindset is to obtain as many victories as possible to show signs of improvement for the 2024 season. Players are fighting for jobs next season, along with the coaching staff. The Edmonton Elks have got to stay out of penalty trouble. Some calls were questionable to say the lease in the second half that went in favour of Calgary during the Labour Day Classic. With that said, they cannot afford to lose their heads in a rival game that was completely in their favour last week. Nevertheless, the Elks went toe-to-toe with a Calgary organization that has been the staple of success in the CFL in the last 18 seasons regarding consecutive playoff appearances.
Edmonton Elks: 29
Calgary Stampeders: 27
Although the Stampeders have a slight edge in the win collum, Edmonton would love nothing more than to throw a wrench in their plans.
This will be another game in which it will come down to late in the 4th quarter to decide a winner in week 14.
The Elks flip the story and win another game at home. The Elks find ways to isolate and take advantage of the Calgary front seven to execute a power running game that will surpass the Calgary running game as the game goes on late in the game. The Elks are more disciplined in this game in which they also win the time of possession battle over the Stampeders.
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