Thursday, July 6, 2017
LIONS 23 ALOUETTES 16
For a second week in a row, a fourth-quarter offensive surge produced a victory as the Lions topped the Montreal Alouettes 23-16 on Thursday night, with back-up quarterback Travis Lulay running in the from the two for the winning points with 2:43 left to play.
The Lions opted to stay in Kingston,Ont., after their win last week in Toronto to have fresher legs against the Alouettes. It worked.
"That's what we preached to the players,'' said Lions coach Wally Buono. "They've been away from their families eight or nine days.
"The guys were great about it. They were professionals. We knew this was going to be a tough game and it was. For them to come out east and win both games, now they can go home and relax and then we're back on the road next week (in Hamilton).''
Jeremiah Johnson scored a pair of touchdowns and Ty Long added a field goal for the Lions (2-1), who have won their last four meetings with Montreal.
Tyrell Sutton had a TD and Boris Bede kicked three field goals for the Alouettes (1-2), who struggled on offence for a third straight game to start the season. New quarterback Darian Durant has yet to put up 20 points in a game.
"It's a long season, it's our third game,'' said Durant, who went a third game without being sacked. "If it's game nine then there's a problem.
"We're a new team. We're trying to figure each other out. Figure the system out. Get on the same page. Everything is new to everyone. It's not like I've ever played with any of these receivers. Around the league, every team has continuity and we're a new team. So we're going build that chemistry coming up. After three games, it's not time to write the season off.''
Durant went 24 for 36 for 245 yards and was picked off on his final drive by Anthony Gaitor.
New CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie was among the 18,728 at Percival Molson Stadium to watch the teams slog their way to 6-6 tie in an uneventful first half.
The game appeared to turn on a successful challenge by Buono for pass interference that wiped out a Montreal interception by Tyree Hollins. That seemed to ignite the B.C. attack as Jonathon Jennings took the ball 73 yards on 13 plays, but they settled for Long's 13-yard field goal for a 9-6 lead at 12:26 of the third.
Montreal marched back and Bede tied it with a 45-yard boot 34 seconds into the fourth quarter, but a pass interference call in the end zone against Hollins gave B.C. the ball on the one and Johnson ran it in at 3:35.
"A play like that helped to shift the momentum,'' said Buono. "That would have been a good play for them.
"I give the players credit. Travis saw it. He showed it to me and obviously there was contact with the player. That's all part of the new technology, which is good. It helps the league have a better product.''
The Alouettes came back to the B.C. five, but it looked to be for naught when Tony Burnett picked off a pass and ran it all the way back, only to have it nullified by an interference call behind the play against Ronnie Yell. Montreal got the ball on the two, where Sutton ran it in at 7:35.
But B.C. answered back again, helped by a 37-yard catch by Shaquille Johnson, and Lulay came in to score the winning points.
"We'll take it,'' said Jennings, who completed 28 passes for 288 yards. "There are breaks in games and you have to take advantage.
"We had a pick-6 called back on us. That would have changed the game as well.''
B.C. started out on fire, with Jennings leading an 11-play, 81-yard drive capped by a nine-yard touchdown pass to Johnson 5:30 into the game. The two-point convert attempt failed and the Lions didn't threaten to score the rest of the half.
Montreal needed three possessions to get a first down, but Durant began moving the ball in the second quarter. A long completion to B.J. Cunningham with a roughing the passer call put the ball on the B.C. 30. Three plays later, Bede was good from 29 yards at 7:42.
A 31-yard completion to Ernest Jackson helped set up Bede's 51-yard field goal at 13:24.
Alouettes kick returner Stefan Logan left late in the first quarter with an injury.
Montreal linebacker Chip Cox played his 200th game.