‘We continued to believe’: Elks rally for much-needed win
MONTREAL — The Edmonton Elks stepped up on both sides of the ball to erase a 19-point deficit in the second half against Montreal on Thursday night for their second win of the season.
Edmonton (2-4) trailed 31-12 in the third quarter following the Alouettes’ fourth touchdown of the game. The momentum was firmly on the home team’s side, but a fumble recovery from Scott Hutter and an interception from fellow defensive back Ed Gainey helped turn the tide for Edmonton.
“We continued to believe, we continued to fight, that’s what this team is made of,” Lawler told TSN after the win.
“When we come out and execute and continue to believe, that’s when we get a win like today. Everyone came out and played lights out in that second half, and that’s what this team is made of.”
Cornelius made his first start of the season in place of an injured Tre Ford, and he made the most of it by completing numerous big throws to sustain drives and help put points on the board.
The 26-year-old out of Oklahoma State completed 61 per cent of his passes for 230 yards in the win. He said he was excited to be back out there, and his performance drew praise from Lawler.
“He was very exceptional. He just trusts his preparation and he trusts his people out there that he’s playing with,” Lawler said.
Head coach Chris Jones was pleased with how Cornelius bounced back after throwing an interception that led to a touchdown drive in the second quarter. The six-foot-five pivot started eight games for Edmonton last season with one win.
“He came back in the second half and moved around good enough in the pocket, and he’s strong enough to get the ball down the field. That’s one thing he can really, really do,” Jones told TSN after the win.
While Cornelius shined against Montreal (1-4) with big completions in key moments, he was quick to give credit to his defence after the win for making the game-winning drive possible.
“Defence came up huge and had some big plays, getting the turnover there at the very end. We’re down six points, and then to give us the ball back to be able to go and put a drive together and go score like that. That was the play of the game for sure,” Cornelius said.
Along with turnovers, Montreal was also derailed by three costly defensive pass interference penalties that each led to a touchdown in the second half.
Despite the much-needed win, Jones said there is still a lot of work to do moving forward with issues on defence and special teams. Alouettes return specialist Chandler Worthy racked up 119 total return yards, including a 44-yard punt return that set up Montreal’s second touchdown.
“We didn’t do a very good job of of covering in the special teams area. Defensively, we gave up some big plays, we didn’t tackle.
“We’ve got a lot of things left for us to do,” Jones said.
The Elks will look to keep the momentum going when they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Week 7 action next Friday at 9 p.m. ET.