WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The Edmonton Eskimos won their first Grey Cup in 10 years on Sunday after beating the Ottawa RedBlacks 26-20 in a tight defensive battle in freezing temperatures in Winnipeg.
The Eskimos, who finished second-last in the Canadian Football League two season ago, were trailing by two late in the game when quarterback Mike Reilly, helped by a pair of pass interference calls, led them to Ottawa’s 10-yard line.
Reilly then completed a nine-yard pass to Nate Coehoorn before backup quarterback Jordan Lynch sneaked into the endzone to put the Eskimos ahead.
Reilly, who was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player, then completed a three-yard pass to running back Akeem Shavers to add the two-point conversion and seal victory in the 103rd Grey Cup.
“They don’t get any prettier than what just happened here,” said Reilly, who missed nearly half the season with a knee injury. “We weren’t worried about being down. It was just a matter of time before we put it all together.”
Ottawa built an early 13-0 lead on a three-yard touchdown pass from Henry Burris to fullback Patrick Lavoie and a seven-yard pass from Burris to Ernest Jackson.
Edmonton got on the board with a 25-yard Sean Whyte field goal and after defensive back Patrick Watkins intercepted a wobbly Burris pass they scored a 23-yard touchdown on an Adarius Bowman catch.
A field goal from Chris Milo put the RedBlacks up 16-10 in the second quarter but the Eskimos went in at halftime in the lead after a missed field goal single and a two-yard touchdown from Reilly to Shavers.
Ottawa regained the lead with a 33-yard Milo field goal, followed by an Edmonton single, before Milo restored Ottawa’s two-point lead with his own punt single.
The game then turned in Edmonton’s favor with the penalties against Ottawa.
“This is definitely not a business to be in if you don’t like highs and lows,” said RedBlacks coach Rick Campbell.
Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Peter Rutherford