OTTAWA – Caleb Evans threw three touchdown passes in his CFL and professional debut Tuesday to help the Ottawa Redblacks defeat the Edmonton Elks 34-24.
Evans completed 15-of-22 passes for 191 yards and also rushed for 59 yards. The 21 year old hadn’t started a game since 2019 when he was playing college football at Louisiana-Monroe.
His seven-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stafford gave the Redblacks a 34-14 lead five minutes into the fourth quarter.
The win snapped an 11-game home losing streak for the Redblacks (2-5).
Taylor Cornelius made just his second CFL start Tuesday and went 22-for-31 for 334 yards – although 129 of those came on two completions – in a losing effort for the Elks. He had three touchdown passes including an eight-yard shovel pass to Shai Ross with under three minutes to play.
Cornelius also threw two interceptions, one in the end zone and the other with the Elks driving in the final two minutes. The Elks (2-5) have lost three straight games.
Both teams scored 10 third-quarter points as the Redblacks took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter.
After the Ottawa defence forced a two-and-out on the opening series of the second half, DeVonte Dedmon returned the ensuing punt 73-yards for the fourth kick return touchdown of his 11-game career.
An 18-yard touchdown pass from Cornelius to Greg Ellingson and a 49-yard Sean Whyte field gave the Elks life as they pulled to within seven points, but Ottawa’s Lewis Ward kicked a 32-yard field goal in the final minute of the quarter to restore the 10-point cushion.
Evans connected with Ryan Davis on the fourth play of the game for a 20-yard catch-and-run play to give the Redblacks the lead just 1:53 into the first quarter.
Ellingson then fumbled after catching a four-yard pass from Cornelius and the Redblacks took advantage of great field position.
Three plays and 31-yards later, the ball was again in the Elks’ end zone as Evans hit Timothy Flanders for a 15-yard touchdown pass, giving the Redblacks a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
That was all the scoring either team would get until Ward kicked a 15-yard field goal at 7:23 of the second quarter, for a 17-0Ottawa lead.
It looked as though the Redblacks might head into the break working on a shutout, but Ross got himself free in the Ottawa backfield and Cornelius found him for a 77-yard score, with 25 of those yards coming after the catch, at 13:14 of the second quarter.
The conversion by Whyte sent the Elks into the half trailing 17-7.