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Redblacks get past Eskimos in OT after Burris injury

Trevor Harris came in as relief and passed for three touchdowns as the Ottawa Redblacks beat the Edmonton Eskimos 45-37 in overtime on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup.

Harris completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brad Sinopoli to start the extra session and Ottawa kept the Eskimos off the board in their attempt at a response.

Redblacks starting quarterback Henry Burris appeared to hurt his right hand on a handoff exchange in the third quarter and left the game.

The injury opened the door for Harris, who finished the game 17-of-19 passing for 292 yards. Burris was 23-of-31 for 258 yards with a touchdown before getting hurt.

“That’s why we signed the guy,” said Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell of bringing Harris in from Toronto.

“He is a pretty cool customer and doesn’t get phased out there. He is a true team player,” he added. “It’s a huge comfort knowing we have two guys who can step in and get it done.”

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Redblacks receiver Brad Sinopoli makes a touchdown catch in overtime to help Ottawa beat the Eskimos in Edmonton on Saturday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Burris also spoke highly of the 30-year-old Harris.

“He is a great young kid who has a bright future ahead of him,” Burris said. “This is only the beginning for him.”

Eskimos head coach Jason Maas said penalties really hurt his team.

“I’m not hanging my head, I don’t think anyone in this locker room is hanging our head about this,” he said.

The game got off to a slow start, as Ottawa held a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Edmonton got a field goal before Ottawa scored the game’s first touchdown. Burris made a four-yard pass to Kienan Lafrance and added a two-point convert for an 11-4 lead.

The Eskimos tied the game when Mike Reilly found John White for a 27-yard passing major before Ottawa kicker Chris Milo booted a 45-yard field goal to make it 14-11 at the half.

Reilly went 28-for-40 for 383 yards and one touchdown.

Harris strikes quickly

Edmonton’s special teams came up big early in the third as Reuben Frank blocked a punt and then was able to fall on it in the end zone for the touchdown.

It was then the defence’s turn soon after as Odell Willis picked off Burris at Ottawa’s 12-yard line, leading to a Sean Whyte field goal.

The tough stretch continued for the Redblacks when Burris got hurt and left the game. However, Harris came in off the bench and made an immediate impact, throwing a 71-yard TD strike to Chris Williams to knot the game back up.

Harris did it again on the next possession, finding Williams for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Edmonton came back with a field goal to cut the lead to 28-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

Last-minute drama

The two teams traded field goals early in the fourth, with Ottawa then adding another midway through the quarter to make it 34-27.

Edmonton tied the game up again with four minutes left when Reilly completed a 64-yard pass to Derel Walker that set up a two-yard pitch to White to make it 34-34.

The Eskimos then moved the ball into range for Whyte, who kicked a 39-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining.

The Redblacks marched back up field and Milo was able to kick a career-best 55-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to send the game to overtime.

“He drilled that thing,” Campbell said. “I think it would have been good from 60.”

Ottawa remains on the road in Week 2, travelling to Montreal to face the Alouettes on Thursday. The Esks have a bye next week.

CBC | Sports News

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