Canadian Tevaun Smith comes up clutch for Eskimos who escape Ottawa with a win

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Eskimos barely escaped Ottawa with a victory.

Thanks to Canadian Tevaun Smith Edmonton came up with a clutch touchdown late in the fourth quarter which stood as the game winner.

Logan Kilgore threw it up for Smith who got both feet down in bounds for a 17-yard touchdown. That major provided a stop to the Esks’ four-game losing streak as Edmonton prevailed 21-16.

The first half was ugly. The teams traded punts – 13 of them in total – during the opening 30 minutes. The Eskimos led 7-3 at the break because of kicker Sean Whyte who hit from 50 and 47 yards respectively.

Kilgore scored the first major of the game in the third quarter on a quarterback sneak. He was making his second start for an injured Trevor Harris who missed playing in Ottawa after leaving during free agency. Harris was one the sidelines in street clothes.

The Redblacks quarterback situation has been a mess for the entire season and the idea to go with a QB rotation didn’t work much better than anything else Ottawa has tried in 2019. Dominique Davis did put together a touchdown drive in the final frame, but he was knocked from the game after injuring his shoulder.

Davis managed to protect the football, despite a league-worst 14 interceptions entering Week 16, while completing 65 percent of his passes (15-of-23) for 215 yards. Jonathon Jennings connected on 7-of-8 attempts for 58 yards, but failed to generate any points while he was on the field. Jennings drops to 0-6 as Ottawa’s starting QB.

Rick Campbell’s group lost their seventh game in a row. The Redblacks have scored the least amount of points in the league (238) and allowed the most (422). Ottawa needs to score more than 40 points in their final four games to avoid tying or breaking their own dubious record. The Redblacks become the first team to lose 11 games and fall to 3-11 overall.

Ottawa is all but out of the playoff picture. Edmonton needed the victory to ensure a favourable equation for them to make the post-season. Kilgore might have to continue playing and try to clinch a ticket to the Grey Cup tournament while Harris recovers. He played mistake-free football completing 19-of-28 passes (67.9 percent) for 223 yards and the touchdown ball to Smith.

Edmonton’s pass rush was relentless recording six sacks. Mike Moore had two; Mathieu Betts posted a QB takedown for a second straight game; Nick Usher notched one; linebackers Don Unamba and Vontae Diggs each dropped the opposing QB once.

The pressure was put on by the Eskimos just as it had ratcheted up on head coach Jason Maas. Edmonton was desperate for a win no matter how it got done. It was hard to watch – borderline unsightly at times – but the Eskimos found a way.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.