TORONTO – Rookie Taylor Cornelius ran for a touchdown as the Edmonton Elks snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 13-7 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Tuesday night.
Cornelius drove Edmonton 29 yards on seven plays, setting up Sean Whyte’s 35-yard field goal at 11:57 of the fourth that put the visitors ahead 13-7. The former Oklahoma State star claimed his first CFL win in his seventh career start for the Elks (3-10), who were coming off a 29-24 road loss Saturday to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
But it wasn’t exactly a stellar performance by Cornelius, who was 15-of-32 passing for 160 yards and three interceptions. And while the game often had the feel of an exhibition contest, Edmonton earned its first victory since 32-20 decision over the Calgary Stampeders on Sept. 6.
The contest was originally scheduled for Aug. 26 but was postponed due to COVID-19 issues and rescheduled for Tuesday night. It attracted an announced gathering of 6,247 at BMO Field on a night when the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Nashville Predators and Canada faced Mexico in a men’s World Cup qualifying soccer contest in Edmonton.
Edmonton earned a fourth straight win over Toronto and fifth in six meetings. The Elks complete their season Friday night visiting the B.C. Lions.
Toronto (9-5) suffered its first home defeat (6-1) and had a three-game win streak halted. But the Argos had already cemented top spot in the East Division so most of their veterans, including starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson, didn’t play.
So Antonio Pipkin made his first start of the year for Toronto. He completed 10-of-22 passes for 111 yards with an interceptionbefore giving way to rookie Cole McDonald in the fourth. Pipkin also ran nine times for 78 yards and a TD.
McDonald completed four-of-eight passes for 45 yards with an interception.
Kicker Boris Bede didn’t dress so Japanese rookie Toshiki Sato handled kicking duties for Toronto. Three times the Argos were called for an illegal kick following Sato punts but his 60-yard boot at 2:39 of the fourth cut Edmonton’s lead to 10-7.
Cornelius appeared poised to increase Edmonton’s lead late in the third, engineering an 11-play, 69-yard drive. But Toronto’s Shaq Richardson intercepted Cornelius in the end zone to end the Elks’ scoring threat.
Whyte booted two field goals and a convert.
Thomas Costigan helped Edmonton take a 10-6 lead into halftime. Costigan sacked Pipkin for an 11-yard loss on third-and-five from the Edmonton 14-yard line at 14:47 of the second, ending Toronto’s 13-play, 70-yard march.
Earlier on the drive, Toronto went for it on third-and-7. Pipkin found Damion Jeanpiere on an 11-yard completion to the Edmonton 19-yard line.
Whyte’s 22-yard field goal at 3:59 of the second put Edmonton ahead 10-6 lead. It came after Toronto was penalized for an illegal kick following Sato’s nine-yard punt, giving the Elks possession at their own 40-yard line.
Cornelius put Edmonton ahead 7-6 on an 18-yard TD run at 6:03.
Pipkin opened the scoring with a two-yard TD run at 3:15. It was set up by Robertson Daniel’s 40-interception return to the Edmonton 17-yard line but Sato missed the convert as Pipkin appeared to have trouble with the hold.