EDMONTON – Walter Fletcher’s debut as the Edmonton’s feature back went as hoped.
Quarterback Taylor Cornelius tossed for 300-plus yards.
The defence came out hot and stood tall for long stretches.
But despite the positives, the end result was the same Friday night at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium as it has been all season for the Edmonton Elks at home, as the Green and Gold fell 19-17 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
It was another disappointing final scoreline for the Elks, who finish the home portion of their 2021 schedule 0-7, posting a winless home campaign for the first time in franchise history.
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Like it has been far too many times this season, there were glimpses of the team everyone in Green and Gold had been hoping for.
Nafees Lyon got things started on the right foot for the defence, picking off Saskatchewan quarterback Cody Fajardo on the Riders first offensive play of the game.
Former member of the Green and White Derrick Moncrief sacked Fajardo on Saskatchewan’s next possession.
Things were – at least momentarily – like this was finally going to be Edmonton’s night on their home turf.
But offensive miscues, particularly in the middle quarters, led to Saskatchewan grinding their way to points, as Edmonton’s defence bent but didn’t truly break on a night they surrendered only one touchdown.
All told, it was close but not enough for the Elks again on Friday night, as their playoff hopes officially evapourated even before they took the field thanks to B.C.’s 26-18 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
On the Saskatchewan side of things, it was the Riders’ fourth consecutive win over Edmonton, dating back to the pair’s final meeting back in 2018 and pushed the Riders one step closer to second place in the West Division and hosting privileges for the West Division Semi on November 28th.
This was a game that in many respects lacked a defining moment, as Brett Lauther’s 46-yard field goal 4:26 into the fourth quarter stood up as the winning points.
Lauther was a perfect 4-for-4 (27, 13, 29, and 46 yard kicks) on the night, as Edmonton’s defence forced Saskatchewan to stall multiple times on the Green and Gold’s side of the field.
RB – Walter Fletcher | 74 rushing yards, 66 rec. yards
Well, the wait for Walter Fletcher to get his chance as the Elks feature back was worth it.
The CFL rookie was outstanding atop Edmonton’s running back depth chart in place of the injured James Wilder Jr.
Fletcher rushed for 74 yards on 14 carries, while adding another 66 yards through the air on five receptions. 56 of those receiving yards came after the catch.
His biggest play of the night came on a 29-yard rush came in the first quarter, and setup the first points of the game when Sean Whyte hit a 15-yarder.
First CFL TD for Daniel Vandervoort and he celebrates in style! 😅 pic.twitter.com/sfNszS2939
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) November 6, 2021
WR – Danny Vandervoort | 3 catches, 54 yards, 2 TDs
It was a big night for Canadian Danny Vandervoort, who drew back into the lineup after sitting out last week against Hamilton.
Vandervoort had a night to remember, hauling in both Elks majors.
His first major came with 8:58 remaining in the game and was the first of the McMaster product’s CFL career. He joins Shai Ross as Elks Canadian receivers to have multi-TD games this season.
QB – Taylor Cornelius | 322 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
In his fifth start of the season for the Elks, Taylor Cornelius posted his best performance.
Cornelius tossed for more than 300 yards for the second time this season (Week 9 vs. OTT being the other), while keeping the INT column clean.
Edmonton starts their whirlwind three-game road swing next week, as they travel to Regina for a rematch with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, November 13. Game time at Mosaic Stadium is 2:00 p.m. MT (3:00 PM CT).