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MONTREAL — The Alouettes got touchdowns from both sides of the ball early and didn’t look back as Montreal topped the BC Lions 24-9 Friday night at Percival Molson Stadium.
Chip Cox took a pitch off an interception and Brandon Whitaker rumbled as the Alouettes jumped out to a 14-0 lead early. Led by four quarterback sacks by John Bowman, the Alouttes defence did the rest as they shut down the Leos to kick off Week 2 in the CFL.
Heading into Friday night, the Lions and Alouettes were looking for their respective quarterbacks to step up after Troy Smith and Kevin Glenn had rough outings in Week 1 losses.
For Glenn, the game was his second start on the year as he continued to spell Travis Lulay while the 2011 CFL Most Outstanding Player recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.
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His first start began well before he ran into a stout Edmonton Eskimos defence that forced him to toss four interceptions. This time, Glenn got rattled early by an active Montreal ‘D’.
On the Lions’ second possession of the game, Glenn would have his pass tipped at the line and intercepted by Alouettes defensive lineman Scott Paxson. Paxson then pitched to Cox for a 26-yard touchdown putting the Alouettes up 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Smith, who aired the ball out consistently in Week 1, began the game with short passes trying to get into a groove. As the Als marched, Smith would find an early partner in the offence in Whitaker — 40 yards rushing and 12 yards receiving in the quarter.
Whitaker quickly helped the Als increase their early lead after capping off a 71-yard drive with a 32-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career, to put the Alouettes up 14-0 in the first quarter.
The defences began taking over in the second quarter as the pressure on both quarterbacks was ratched up.
The Als continued to make Glenn uncomfortable as they added two more sacks on the Lions’ second drive of the quarter.
The Lions defence responded with their own attack on Montreal’s next drive, shutting down Smith and the Als with their own second down sack.
With the ball back in Glenn’s hands the Lions began finding a groove, marching down the field behind the arm of their starting QB. The drive stalled with yet another turnover though, as running back Stefan Logan fumbled the ball with Jerald Brown recovering for the Alouettes at the BC 43.
Smith got the ball back and looked to build on the lead, moving the Als to the 27 yard line with a 16-yard run but he could not get the Alouettes into the endzone. Sean Whyte ended the drive with a 34-yard field goal.
As time ticked down in the half the Alouettes defence would continue to make it a rough night for Glenn, shutting him down with pressure from the front four.
Whyte added a 26-yard field goal to end the half with the Als on top 20-0.
The second half began with the Lions taking advantage of a Montreal turnover. Early in the second half the Alouettes went for it on third down, a play they had been successful with in the first half, but Tanner Marsh fumbled the ball and the Lions recovered it on the 40 yard line.
Glenn then strung together a pair of first downs, including a 29-yard pass to Ernest Jackson putting them within striking distance. Paul McCallum would finish off the drive with a 24-yard field goal to put the Lions’ first points on the board.
Both defences continued to tighten and pressure from both sides was enough to keep the score at 20-3 at the end of the third quarter.
The first drive for the Lions in the fourth quarter had promise with Glenn leading BC down the field inside the 20, but the drive was stalled, as Glenn saw his pass picked off by Marc-Olivier Brouillette in the endzone.
Whyte finished the ensuing drive with a 31-yard field goal attempt that was missed and not returned giving the Als a rouge.
Montreal then began to take a methodical approach on offence as they looked to take up some time and protect their lead. Utilizing Smith and Steven Lumbala, the Als marched down the field giving Whyte a chance to add to the lead. Whyte would finish off the drive with a 47-yard field goal.
QB John Beck entered late in the game for BC and completed a touchdown pass to Courtney Taylor with just over a minute remaining.
The Lions will face yet another stiff test next week as they travel to Regina to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders before returning home to host the Als again. Meanwhile, Montreal remains at home to take on Drew Willy and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.