MONTREAL — Vernon Adams Jr. threw a trio of scores against his former team as the BC Lions took down the Montreal Alouettes 34-25 to open up OK Tire Labour Day Weekend on Saturday.
There were four lead changes in the second half before BC ultimately went ahead on a field goal by kicker Sean Whyte with 7:53 left in the fourth and running back Taquan Mizzell added an insurance major for the final score of the game.
Adams Jr. completed 21-of-33 passes for 306 yards alongside his three majors in his first game in Montreal since being traded from the Alouettes to the Lions halfway through the 2022 season.
Receiver Alexander Hollins was on the receiving end of two majors and Keon Hatcher added another one as BC improved to 8-4. Defensive back Quincy Mauger came down with a crucial interception in the fourth that stopped Montreal from going ahead late in the game.
Cody Fajardo threw a major to a diving Austin Mack in the first half and kicker David Cote made four of five field goal attempts in the losing effort for a 6-5 Alouettes. Montreal’s pivot also threw two interceptions and finished 22-of-35 for 308 yards.
Running back William Stanback scored his first touchdown of the season, a 69-yard run that gave the Alouettes the lead before BC stormed back to win the game.
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» Adams Jr. scores three majors in return to Montreal
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Kicker David Cote opened the scoring for the home team with a 23-yard field goal with 9:15 left in the first.
BC responded with a scoring drive of their own. Adams used his legs to pick up two crucial first downs while also moving the chains on third-and-five with a pass to Justin McInnis. The Lions pivot completed the march with a pass to Hollins in the back of the end zone for a 7-3 lead.
Cote made it a one-score game with another boot late in the first quarter on a drive that included receiver Greg Ellingson’s first catch with the Alouettes.
Whyte pushed the lead back to four with a 42-yard field goal in the second as both defences successfully continued to protect their final 20 yards of the field.
The highlight of the first half was a deep bomb from Adams Jr., a 62-yard lob that fell down just beyond the outstretched arms of defensive back Kabion Ento and into Hollins’ hands who ran it in for his second major of the game.
Fajardo and the Alouettes offence were able to move the ball all the way to the red zone once more, but again fell short of scoring the major and Cote split the uprights for his third score of the game, 17-9 with 1:01 left in the second quarter.
After a quick punt by BC, Fajardo got another chance with under a minute to go to put together a scoring march and made the most of it. Montreal’s pivot connected with receiver Cole Spieker over the middle to move the ball across midfield before connecting with Tyler Snead to get the Alouettes into Cote’s range. The veteran kicker continued his perfect game with his fourth conversion in four attempts for the home team as the score showed 17-12 going into halftime.
The second half began with one of the best plays of the year. Mack got behind BC’s secondary and Fajardo launched it deep as the wide receiver made a diving catch with his fingertips to retake the lead for Montreal. No. 81 also made another diving catch in the ensuing two-point try but couldn’t come down with the ball as the Alouettes led 18-17.
Returner Chandler Worthy positioned the Als at midfield two possessions later with a punt return but Cote missed his first kick of the game and the hosts left the field with a rouge.
The Lions first score in the second half came through the air. Adams completed five passes to move BC 70 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Hatcher that made it 24-19 in favour of the visitors with 2:20 left in the third.
Stanback single-handedly retook the lead for the Alouettes with a 69-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Montreal went for two and could not convert as the scoreboard showed 25-24.
BC wouldn’t go down without a fight as Adams and the offence went to work on their next possession. The veteran quarterback went long for receiver Lucky Whitehead to flip the field. It wasn’t enough for a major but it got Whyte in range to retake a 27-25 lead.
A trick play on a punt caught the Lions off-guard on the next possession for Montreal and running back Jeshrun Antwi put the Alouettes in position to score. It almost happened as Fajardo went to Mack on a corner route in the end zone but Mauger was the one coming down with the ball for a big turnover for the visitors.
Adams and the offence put the game away with a final drive after the interception that ended on a seven-yard run by Mizzell. The point after by Whyte made it a two-possession game with a 34-25 score and a late pick by defensive back T.J. Lee sealed the win for the visitors.
The Alouettes return to the field on Saturday, September 9, as they travel to Toronto to face the Argonauts in Week 14. The Lions meanwhile get a week off before returning home to host the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Saturday, September 16, in Week 15 action.