The Edmonton Elks started the season 0-3, since then the Elks have been standing 2-2. Their overall record is not a rosy one, with a score of 2-5 and in last place in the Western Division.
The Elks kick off a critical leg of games on Saturday night when they visit the BC Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
A win would put the Elks two behind fourth-placed Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-4) in the West, an important spot as the Riders are currently in crossover position in the Eastern Division.
The Elks will face the Riders next week, followed by a home-and-home set against the Ottawa Redblacks (who are bottom of the CFL’s overall standings).
A healthier version of the Elks will face the Lions again on Saturday
Chris Jones agrees it’s a big game for his team, and it starts with a much better performance against the Lions compared to their Week 1 outing.
“We’re 2-5, so of course we have to show up and play great football,” Jones said. “We have to watch one game at a time and you don’t want to look too far. Let’s go to BC and play better football than last time and just do our very best and win a football match.”
How was that outing in week 1 you ask? If you’ve already forgotten it, no one will blame you. The Elks were dominated by the Lions with a 59-15 loss. The Elks set a new franchise record for most points allowed in a regular season game.
Injuries during training camp and the start of the season have plagued the Elks.
Seventy-five players have played at least one game this season, with the other eight CFL teams averaging 59 players.
The Elks are getting more reinforcements for Saturday’s game. Receiver Derel Walker (hip/groin) and receiver/quarterback Kai Locksley (hamstring) return to the lineup after missing the game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers two weeks ago. Walker and Locksley will try to give quarterback Taylor Cornelius more options.
In the last two games, Kenny Lawler has been targeted 24 times, catching 14 receptions for 198 yards and one touchdown catch. Lawler has caught three passes of 20 yards or more and made six seconds of conversion catches.
Also returning on Saturday for the Elks are defensive tackle Jake Ceresna (shoulder) and defensive defender Nafees Lyon (shoulder), as both will come off the team’s six-game injured list. Linebacker Jordan Reaves (finger fracture) and fullback Tanner Green (core injury) also return to the lineup.
Punter Jon Ryan will make his debut with Elks after being traded to Edmonton during farewell week from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Ryan is a former Super Bowl winner with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.
The Elks will be tasked with slowing down BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke, who is second in the CFL in passing yards (1941) and leads the league in touchdown passes with 16. In his last two appearances against the Elks, Rourke has passed 641 yards and has thrown four touchdown passes and five hasty touchdowns.
The Elks are coming off their best defensive performance of the season in a 24-10 loss to the Bombers, with the Elks putting in just 272 net yards.
The following are the expected offensive and defensive starters for the Elks:
Quarterback: Taylor Cornelius
Running back: Ante Milanovich-Litre (Fullback: Tanner Green)
Offensive Line: Tony Washington, David Foucault, David Beard, Mark Korte, Martez Ivey
Recipients: Hakeem Butler, Kenny Lawler, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Caleb Holley, Chris Osei-Kusi
Defense Line: Thomas Costigan, Makana Henry, Jake Ceresna, Keisean Lucier-South
Linebackers: Adam Conner, Nyles Morgan, Treston Decoud
Defensive Backs: Malik Sonnier, Ed Gainey, Duron Carter, Nafees Lyon, Raphael Leonard
You can listen to Saturday’s game between the Elks and Lions live on 630 CHED, starting with Countdown to Kickoff with Brenden Escott at 6:30 p.m. The opening kick-off from BC Place Stadium in Vancouver is at 8 p.m., with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell with analysis by former Edmonton Football Team offensive lineman and two-time Gray Cup champion Blake Dermott.
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