Alouettes defense lifts them to win over Edmonton Elks

EDMONTON — A trio of forced turnovers carried the Montreal Alouettes to a 25-18 win on Saturday over the Edmonton Elks.

Tyrice Beverette’s 100-yard interception return touchdown gave the Als a fourth quarter lead and an end zone stand by the Alouettes’ defence preserved the win for interim head coach and GM Danny Maciocia, as he made his return to city where he had his first CFL head coaching gig.

Micah Awe pulled in a tipped pass with just over a minute to play to seal the game.

Trevor Harris made 14-17 passes for 180 yards with a touchdown for the Alouettes, in his return to Edmonton after being traded to Montreal last season.

Taylor Cornelius made 16-28 passes for 273 yards with zero touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

» Box Score: Alouettes, Elks by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Montreal at Edmonton
» Watch: Lewis makes spectacular TD catch
» Harris: ‘Our defence really changed the game’

The Elks got the game going by giving their home crowd something to cheer about. It started with Christian Saulsberry taking David Cote’s missed 50-yard field goal attempt back 53 yards for good field position.

Cornelius showed versatility on the ensuing drive, dancing around the defence and at one point rushing then coming to a stop behind the line of scrimmage before throwing a cross-field dart to rookie Vincent Forbes-Mombleau to get to Montreal’s 19-yard line. They didn’t find the end zone but Sergio Castillo was able to send a 26-yard field goal through at 7:2o to open the scoring.

Harris and the Als had an immediate answer. Harris survived a near pick-six from Elks’ defensive back Jamie Harry and got his team to the one-yard line, after his former Elk teammate Walter Fletcher had what appeared to be a touchdown called back on review. Dominque Davis came in on short yardage to cap the nine-play, 70-yard drive. David Cote’s convert went through at 12:11 to make it a 7-3 game.

After a 55-yard punt single from the Elks’ Jon Ryan, the Alouettes’ offence struck again. Harris found his favourite target, Eugene Lewis, for an eight-yard touchdown reception, finishing off a five-play drive. Cote was back on the field again in short order with his convert pushing the score to 14-4, 2:36 into the second quarter.

The Elks were able to make it a one-score game at 8:48, thanks to a 32-yard field goal from Castillo. They then got some help from defensive lineman Jake Ceresna and head coach Chris Jones, as Jones challenged a fumble ruling and ensured his team got the ball back inside the final three minutes.

The drive was productive but costly. Running back Kevin Brown left on the first play of the drive with an injury, but returned to action. On the second play, Cornelius was under pressure and found Kenny Lawler for a difficult, contested 33-yard reception. Lawler made the play but appeared to injure his shoulder and went to the locker room, spelling the end of his day in his first game back after an ankle injury landed him on the six-game injured list. The Als’ turnover led to another three points for the Elks, courtesy of Castillo’s 38-yard field goal at 13:47.

Ceresna got his team another chance to put points on the board before the half would end. He forced his second fumble of the day, with the Elks taking the ball back at Montreal’s 33-yard line. The Elks made good on this turnover, with Cornelius finishing off a five-play drive from a yard out, getting Edmonton back in front. Castillo’s convert put the Elks up three and his ensuing kickoff went for a single, making it an 18-14 game.

The Als worked quickly — and had a touchdown reception called back with 15 seconds left — to get a 52-yard field goal from Cote with two seconds left on the clock to narrow the Elks lead to a point, 18-17 at the half.

The defences tightened up in the third quarter and the trash talk increased with that, but the effort wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard. Cote attempted to put the Als up with a deep 56-yard field goal attempt but it missed to his left and the one-point game carried into the fourth quarter.

Cornelius and the Elks appeared to have their breakthrough as the six-minute mark of the fourth neared. Set up at Montreal’s four-yard line, Cornelius’ pass was deflected and caught by Alouettes’ linebacker Tyrice Beverette, who trucked the ball back 100 yards for the dramatic go-ahead play.

Harris ran in a two-point convert at 6:03 to go up a full score, 25-18.

Despite the crushing turnover, Cornelius was undeterred. He unloaded a 46-yard bomb to Dillon Mitchell to get to Montreal’s eight-yard line. The Elks looked to Brown three times and the Alouettes’ defence made a tremendous stand, keeping the talented running back out of the end zone, forcing the turnover.

The Elks’ last gasp met the same fate. Cornelius looked to Danny Vandervoort but had the pass tipped and caught by Awe.

Next up for the Elks is a trip to Winnipeg. They’ll face the Blue Bombers at IG Field on Sat. Oct. 8. The Alouettes will host the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Thanksgiving Monday, to cap off Thanksgiving Weekend presented by Purolator.


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