The Turnover: Regular Season Game 5

   Edmonton Elks fans trotted into Game 5 versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders with minimal hope after the loss to Ottawa last week. Hope was restored with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and that same hope was lost in the last minute of the game. The Elks snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a new way, an ongoing theme of the 2023 Edmonton Elks season.

    In this week's edition of The Turnover, we'll break down the latest Edmonton Elks game as fans in what was another heartbreaking loss for the Green and Gold faithful, no pun intended.


   With the Edmonton Elks floundering last week against fellow bottom-feeders, the Ottawa REDBLACKS, we woke up on Game Day with minimal expectations for this week's Elks team. While Cornelius seems to flourish when he plays in Saskatchewan, our concerns were focused on the offensive line and the offensive schemes. After a busy day at our day jobs, we hustled over to The Secret Spot Games Room to begin the Game Day festivities. With pizza fresh out of the oven and cold beverages on hand, we watched the Pregame Show on TSN and started to get excited for Edmonton Elks football once again.


   From kickoff to the final whistle, this game was a defensive battle. The Elks with Taylor Cornelius at pivot would push the ball down the field, setting up a field goal attempt that would be marred by global kicker Dean Faithfull who kicked the ball to the left of the posts, notching his first missed field goal of the season and scoring a single point in the process. On defense, the Elks would struggle against the Riders and their running back Jamal Morrow. Saskatchewan set themselves up for a 1st and Goal scenario that the Elks would shut down on the third down to regain control of the ball. Riders quarterback Trevor Harris felt the pressure from the Elks in most of his attempts throughout this game. These were promising signs for Green and Gold fans that didn't expect much competition from their team.

   The pressure from the Elks didn't stop in the second quarter with the Elks forcing a quarterback fumble and regaining control of the ball early in the quarter. Cornelius threw a beautiful pass to Dunbar that would have translated to a touchdown, had Elks right tackle David Foucault not been called for holding. Faithfull would miss the field goal once again and Saskatchewan's Mario Alford ran the ball out of the Saskatchewan endzone to the opposite end, but the potential touchdown was called back due to a Riders holding penalty. After some back and forth on the turf, the Elks would kick the ball through the end zone for yet another Rouge. Saskatchewan would finally answer back with a field goal before the end of the half. 3-3 game at the end of two quarters.

   While the third quarter has been an issue for the Elks, Thursday's game showed otherwise. The Elks would score another Rouge to take a 4-3 lead early in the quarter, making this game a very Canadian affair. After stopping Saskatchewan, the Elks would construct a touchdown drive with much needed help from recievers Steven Dunbar Jr. and Kyran Moore, and a catch by running back Kevin Brown. Taylor Cornelius stayed in for the scoring quarterback sneak on 2nd and 1 and with that, the Elks had an 11-3 lead with the point after touchdown.

   From there the game started to slip away from the Edmonton Elks. The Roughriders would push the ball down the field with every chance they had and Trevor Harris utilized his recievers that were patiently waiting near the sides of the field without coverage. The Riders liked that play call too much apparently, because the Elks were able to intercept the ball on one of those predictable plays. The lack of capitalization by the Elks would see the EE return the ball to the Riders near the end of the fourth quarter which set up an exciting finish to an already exciting game. Harris then went to work against his former team and managed to get his new team close enough to score a touchdown and a 2-point conversion, making the game an 11-11 contest. On the kick after, however, a game that was filled with Rouges would see just one more; Rookie Elks reciever C.J. Sims forgot the CFL rules and in a big play moment, Sims allowed the kicked ball to go over his head and drop into the Elks end zone, giving the Riders a single-point lead with about a minute to go. Cornelius and company would try to drive the ball to the Saskatchewan end but their fates were sealed with an intercepted throw, Saskatchewan's Nick Marshall with the game-ending interception. Game over, 12-11 for the wrong shade of green.


1. The Edmonton Elks looked like a competitive team tonight. We lost it by one.
2. O-Line was good minus Foucault playing out of position and struggling.
3. Sims. Tough night to have a fault like that. Good effort tonight otherwise.


   Frustrating game, eh? The Elks showed signs of improvement which, the team and fanbase needed it. The most frustrating part of Thursday's game for Elks fans is that the team had a chance to win the game. The Elks controlled their own destiny for most of four quarters which was a welcome and unfamiliar sight. This loss wasn't specifically on Faithfull, Sims, or Cornelius. The 5th loss of the season was a team loss and despite a great amount of effort and improvement, fans will look at the score instead of the fine print. By the fourth quarter the Elks had doubled their first down count opposed to last week's game, a sign of improvement that we didn't expect to see. The defense played relatively well and even stopped the run on multiple attempts. Special teams had a very hard time on Thursday with two missed field goals by Faithfull and one lucky flag stopping a Riders return touchdown. While the Sims fiasco in the final minute of play may seem like a player fault, fans need to remember that Sims is a rookie in his first CFL season, meaning his big plays and player instincts are geared towards the American style of football, not Canada's. From what we saw, Sims thought he was going to get a touch back which does not exist in the CFL. Back to the drawing board for the Elks and their fans.


   The Edmonton Elks are back in action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday, July 13th at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. Both of these teams are struggling on the turf and with Elks fans frothing at the mouth for a home win, the upcoming game may be one of the best chances this season for the EE to get the elusive win at Commonwealth Stadium. The Tailgate Party will be in full effect and we will be cooking in stall #44 to get your Game Day in Edmonton started on the right note! See you there!