Adarius Bowman caught three touchdown passes as the Edmonton Eskimos came away with a 39-36 overtime victory over former head coach Chris Jones and the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.
The defending Grey Cup champion Eskimos are 1-1 on the season, while the Roughriders drop to 0-2.
Saskatchewan saw success on its first possession as quarterback Darian Durant completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Rob Bagg.
Edmonton came close to tying the game on a long drive, however a pass by Mike Reilly was intercepted in the end zone by Justin Cox.
The Roughriders added 38- and 39-yard field goals by Tyler Crapigna to lead 13-0 midway through the second quarter.
The Eskimos finally got their act together with five minutes left in the first half as Reilly connected with Bowman for a 56-yard TD catch.
Saskatchewan came right back as Ricky Collins showed great concentration to reel in a ball that had bounced off an Eskimos defender for a 13-yard touchdown. It was set up by a punt fumble recovery by Jeff Knox Jr. The convert failed.
Edmonton responded with a four-yard Reilly TD pass to Chris Getzlaf to cut the Riders’ lead to 19-14 at the half.
Following a failed third-down gamble by the Riders on their own 30-yard line, Edmonton surged to its first lead on an unconverted four-yard TD run by John White.
After another turnover by Saskatchewan deep in its own territory, a punt fumble scooped up by Esk Kenny Ladler, Edmonton took a 28-19 lead to start the fourth quarter as Bowman caught a five-yard touchdown pass.
Reilly continued to pick apart the Saskatchewan secondary on his team’s next possession, making a 68-yard pass to Cory Watson before tossing his third TD to Bowman, this one a 31-yarder.
The Roughriders took advantage of Joe McKnight’s second punt fumble loss of the night, as Durant completed a 20-yard TD pass to John Chiles with five minutes to play. Saskatchewan was able to recover the ensuing on-side kick, leading to a 45-yard field goal to cut the Edmonton lead to four points.
The Riders surged ahead with just 19 second left on a six-yard TD pass to Shamawd Chambers and looked to have had the game won, but Edmonton was able to get a 51-yard field goal from Sean Whyte as time expired to send the contest to overtime — the second straight game the Eskimos have gone to an extra session this season.
Edmonton started OT with a field goal and won the game when Saskatchewan was stopped short on a third-and-one gamble.
The Eskimos return to the field on Thursday as they travel to Winnipeg, while the Roughriders return home to face the B.C. Lions next Saturday.
Notes: Durant went over the 25,000 career passing yards mark in the game, his 100th CFL start.