The Edmonton Elks started the season 0-3, since then the Elks are 2-2. Their overall record isn’t glowing, sitting with a 2-5 mark and in last place in the Western Division.
The Elks begin a critical stretch of games on Saturday night when they visit the B.C. Lions at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
A win would put the Elks two behind the fourth place Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-4) in the West, an important spot as the Riders are currently in the crossover position in the Eastern Division.
The Elks play the Riders next week followed up by a home-and-home set against the Ottawa Redblacks (who are sitting at the bottom of the CFL’s overall standings.)
A healthier version of the Elks face the Lions again on Saturday
Chris Jones agrees it’s a big stretch of games for his team, and it starts with putting 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 take one game at a time and you don’t want to look too far down the road. Let’s go to B.C. and play better football than we did last time and just compete our butt off and go win a football game.”
How did that outing go in Week 1 you ask? If you have forgotten about it already, no one would blame you. The Elks were dominated by the Lions to the tune of a 59-15 loss. The Elks set a new franchise record for most points allowed in a regular season game.
Injuries out of training camp and the early part of the season have plagued the Elks.
Seventy-five players have suited for at least one game this season, the eight other CFL teams have averaged 59 players.
The Elks will get more reinforcements for Saturday’s game. Receiver Derel Walker (hip/groin) and receiver/quarterback Kai Locksley (hamstring) will return to the lineup after missing the game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers two weeks ago. Walker and Locksley will look to provide more options for quarterback Taylor Cornelius.
In the last two games, Kenny Lawler has been targeted 24 times and has caught 14 receptions for 198 yards and one touchdown catch. Lawler has caught three passes of 20 yards or more and has six second down conversion catches.
Also returning on Saturday for the Elks are defensive tackle Jake Ceresna (shoulder) and defensive back 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 muscle injury) will also return to the lineup.
Punter Jon Ryan will make his Elks debut after being traded to Edmonton from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the bye week. Ryan is a former Super Bowl winner with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.
The Elks will be tasked with trying to slow down B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke who is second in the CFL in passing yards (1,941) and leads the league in touchdown passes with 16. In his last two outings against the Elks, Rourke has passed for 641 yards and has thrown four touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns.
The Elks are coming off their best defensive performance of the season in a 24-10 loss to the Bombers, the Elks surrendered just 272 net yards.
The following are the projected 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
Receivers: Hakeem Butler, Kenny Lawler, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Caleb Holley, Chris Osei-Kusi
Defensive line: Thomas Costigan, Makana Henry, Jake Ceresna, Keisean Lucier-South
Linebackers: Adam Konar, Nyles Morgan, Treston Decoud
Defensive backs: Malik Sonnier, Ed Gainey, Duron Carter, Nafees Lyon, Raphael Leonard
You can hear live coverage of Saturday’s game between the Elks and Lions on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff with Brenden Escott at 6:30 p.m. The opening kickoff from BC Place Stadium in Vancouver will be at 8 p.m., with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell with analysis by former Edmonton Football Team offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion Blake Dermott.
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