The running back returned to the lineup and scored both of the game's touchdowns as the Eskimos moved into second place in the CFL's West Division with a rare 24-0 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.
It was just the second win in the last five outings for the Eskimos (9-4), who moved into a tie for second with the Riders. Both teams are two points back of the first-place Calgary Stampeders.
"That was a nice win," said Eskimos head coach Chris Jones, who turned 48 years old a day earlier. "Any time you can shut somebody out in the CFL, you've done some good things defensively and on special teams."
While the Edmonton defence did its job, Jones said the insertion of White into the lineup after missing six weeks with a hand injury was the real boost to his squad.
"Getting our running back back, it helped us, certainly," he said. "White's a really dynamic back. He's extremely explosive and even when guys are not blocked, he can make people miss and get vertical."
White rushed for 192 yards on 17 carries.
"It's business, strictly business, all business," said White. "Right off the hop, I knew what it was going to be and that's what happened."
"We were excited to get John back on the sideline," said Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly. "For him to come back and be so strong in his first game is a big benefit for us."
It was only the second loss in the last 10 games for the Roughriders, who dropped to 9-4, and the first time they have been blanked since a 56-0 loss to Winnipeg on July 5, 1986.
"A loss is a loss to me. Whether it is by one point or 10 points, in the end you have lost the game. I'm really not into the history part of it," said Riders head coach Corey Chamblin. "We already got our butts kicked outside, there is no reason for me to go in (the locker room) and do it again. This team has won enough football games and done a good enough job this year. I know the men I have in that room. At the same time, that one hurt."
Saskatchewan defensive lineman John Chick said he hopes his team at least learned a lesson or two.
"It's not a good feeling. It was a frustrating day," he said. "It's not like the sky is falling or we have to start over. Sometimes you are going to get punched in the mouth. You just have to come back and get ready for the next one. We'll just go back to work like usual. We still have great players in this locker room, have had a good season and are headed in the right direction. It's a tough loss, but sometimes you need those."
Edmonton took an early lead four minutes into the contest after a third down gamble by Saskatchewan misfired with back-up quarterback Seth Doege stuffed short on a big tackle by Eskimos linebacker Dexter McCoil at the Riders' 36-yard-line. On the next play, White made a couple of nice moves as he blazed his way into the end zone to make it 7-0.
The Eskimos competently marched the ball down the field on their next possession, but had to settle for a 27-yard Hugh O'Neill field goal.
Saskatchewan had no first downs and just 11 total yards of offence in the first quarter.
The Roughriders conceded a safety early in the second quarter and the Eskimos added a single on a missed field goal soon afterwards to put Edmonton ahead 13-0.
Saskatchewan finally got its initial first down of the game five minutes into the second quarter, but then promptly lost the ball as quarterback Tino Sunseri, still subbing in for the injured Darian Durant, was intercepted by Ryan Hinds.
Edmonton gained another point on a punt single with three minutes remaining in the first half.
The Eskimos made it 17-0 with a 45-yard O'Neill field goal five minutes into the third quarter, a score that held up into the fourth as the game hit a major lull.
Saskatchewan was finally in a scoring position after a 25-yard passing play to Weston Dressler took them to the Edmonton 35. On the next play, however, Doege was picked off at the five by Eskimos defensive back Aaron Grymes.
Edmonton finally provided a couple more plays for the highlight reel as a 31-yard passing play to Fred Stamps led to a 10-yard pass from Reilly to White for his second touchdown of the game.
Over the final three weeks of this regular season the teams will meet twice, with both games taking place in Saskatchewan.
The Riders return home to face the Calgary Stampeders next Friday, while the Eskimos hit the road for a game in Toronto next Saturday.
Notes: The Roughriders have not had much success at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium over the years, coming into the game with just a 11-40 regular season record in the building… Riders return man and slotback Weston Dressler has been solid in his return from an NFL stint, leading the CFL with a career-best 223 combined yards last week… Saskatchewan also added NFL returnee and Edmonton-area native long-snapper Chad Rempel on Thursday. Rempel made his debut for the Roughriders in Friday's game.... Eskimos receiver Shamawd Chambers has been placed on the six-game injured list, but Edmonton had a pair of players return from injuries in cornerback Joe Burnett and running back John White… Saskatchewan has not scored more than three points in the first quarter in any of its last eight games. However, the Riders were 6-0 in games that have been decided in the final three minutes… The attendance for the game was 42,161, the largest in the CFL this season.