BC Lions back in win column, whip Montreal Alouettes

VANCOUVER — A dominant second quarter helped the BC Lions to a confident 41-18 win over the visiting Montreal Alouettes on Friday Night Football at BC Place.

Jonathon Jennings, Jeremiah Johnson and co. dominated on offense, Anthony Gaitor stole the spotlight with a special-teams touchdown, and the Lions defense limited Darian Durant and the Montreal offense to just 68 first-half yards.

The night began with a gasp of horror for the Lions, as starting quarterback Travis Lulay was forced to leave the game with what was reported by TSN as a serious knee injury.

Jonathon Jennings — fresh off losing the keys to the offencs in Ottawa — then came in and settled the hosts’ nerves with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Manny Arceneaux. Jennings then found Bryan Burnham for an athletic two-point convert, and would go on to showcase a strong arm en route to a 295-yard, two-touchdown performance.

His veteran counterpart, Montreal’s Darian Durant, threw for 258 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

BC Lions RB Jeremiah Johnson celebrating a TD Photo: Jimmy Jeong CFL.ca

Montreal kicker Boris Bede then clanked a 50-yard field-goal attempt off the upright for a dead ball.

Lions kicker Ty Long responded with a miss of his own on the ensuing possession from 44 yards out.

Bede made good on his next attempt, a 48-yarder, early in the second quarter to cut Montreal’s deficit to 8-3.

A pair of safeties — one earned by BC’s David Menard, one conceded by the Als — pushed the Lions lead to 12-3.

With the Montreal offense stalling and the defense tiring, the hosts extended their lead when Jennings found Chris Rainey for an eight-yard touchdown. Long’s convert then made it 19-3.

After a beautiful Stefan Logan return set the Alouettes up for a half-ending feel-good field goal, Bede’s kick was blocked and returned by BC’s Anthony Gaitor for a touchdown. Long’s convert then gave the Lions a 26-3 half-time lead and polished off a 14-point BC swing in the final 34 seconds of the half.

The visitors managed just 68 yards of offense in the first half.

Durant and co. came out firing in the second half; after a long completion to Tiquan Underwood moved the Alouettes deep into Lions territory, Durant found Ernest Jackson on a six-yard touchdown pass. The two then combined for a successful two-point convert to cut the BC lead to 26-12.

The Lions responded quickly as — after a ridiculous 48-yard Jennings-to-Burnham connection — Jeremiah Johnson plunged into the end zone from the 1-yard line. Long’s convert made it 33-12.

Rookie Ken Boatright, making his first start of the season on Friday night, then announced his presence by recovering a Tyrell Sutton fumble forced by teammate Maxx Forde.

BC Lions SB Manny Arceneaux hauling in a pass Photo: Jimmy Jeong CFL.ca

Long added a punt single on a bizarre goal-line stand-off between Logan and BC’s cover team, making it 34-12.

A slicing Jeremiah Johnson touchdown run from four yards out — his 11th all-purpose major of the season — added insult to Montreal’s collective injury midway through the fourth quarter; Long’s convert drifted wide left, and BC’s lead stood at 40-12.

Darian Durant waltzed into the end zone inside the final four minutes for a consolation touchdown; Montreal’s offensive line collapsed on the ensuing two-point convert and the veteran pivot was forced to throw the ball away.

Long added another punt single late in the day to round out Friday’s scoring; backup quarterback Drew Willy took the final few snaps of the afternoon for Montreal.

What would have been a late touchdown for the Alouettes and Tiquan Underwood was taken off the board on an illegal contact penalty.

Defensive standouts for the Lions in the win included Solomon Elimimian, who added seven tackles to his league-leading total, and two-sack man David Menard.

The win snapped a three-game skid for the Lions (6-5), who will re-focus for a trip to Calgary’s McMahon Stadium in Week 13, while the Alouettes’ (3-8) losing streak stands at four with the red-hot Ottawa REDBLACKS looming next Sunday.


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