CFL: Defense shines as Montreal Alouettes down Ottawa REDBLACKS

OTTAWA — A strong defensive performance powered the Montreal Alouettes to a 21-11 victory over the Ottawa REDBLACKS at TD Place on Friday Night Football.

Kicker Boris Bede accounted for 14 of Montreal’s 21 points — a quartet of field goals and two singles — in the win for the Alouettes, who kept the REDBLACKS out of the end zone on the night.

Als sophomore quarterback Antonio Pipkin completed 18 of 27 passes for 242 pass yards; while the Tiffin University product threw two interceptions, he also made plays on the ground en route to 75 rush yards and a touchdown.

The win was the second on the hop for Mike Sherman’s team, which is quickly ratcheting up the heat in the East Division playoff race.

The Alouettes opened the scoring midway through the first quarter, as Pipkin, running back Ryder Stone and co. marched on a 10-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in a 19-yard Boris Bede field goal.

Ottawa got on the board with a 54-yard punt single from Richie Leone on the subsequent series.

Montreal’s defence was the story of the first half, sacking Trevor Harris three times; defensive end Jesse Joseph was specifically a beast off the edge, with a sack and tackle-for-loss.

Another Bede field goal from 43 yards out three minutes into the second quarter extended the visitors’ lead to 6-1.

Bede followed it up with a 32-yard boot at the 5:46 mark, making it 9-1; Lewis Ward and the REDBLACKS responded with a 40-yard kick of their own, and the teams headed to the locker room with the score 9-4 in favour of the Alouettes.

Montreal made it a six-point game on the opening kickoff of the second half, as Bede sent his place kick through the end zone for a single.

Momentum swung Ottawa’s way three minutes into the third quarter, as Jonathon Rose stepped up and intercepted an Antonio Pipkin pass, giving the REDBLACKS offence up at Montreal’s 22-yard line.

Two plays later, Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris appeared to find Brad Sinopoli in the end zone, but the initial ruling of a touchdown was overturned upon review: The ball hit the ground before Sinopoli had full control, and Ottawa had to settle for a 13-yard Ward field goal.

The missed points would come back to bite the REDBLACKS, as Montreal responded with a long, pass interference-aided drive that ended with an Antonio Pipkin one-yard plunge into the end zone. Boris Bede’s convert gave the visitors a 10-point lead.

Bede tacked on another single with another monster single on the ensuing kickoff, and Montreal led 18-7.

A 35-yard field goal from Ward got the REDBLACKS within a single score early in the fourth quarter, and a Richie Leone punt single at the 9:41 mark cut the deficit to 18-11.

The kicking parade continued with Bede splitting the uprights from close range from 14 yards out at the 6:17 mark, restoring the 10-point lead.

Montreal’s defence shut the door when it mattered most, stopping three Harris end zone attempts from the three-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

Alouettes defensive back Tevaughn Campbell put the icing on the cake inside the final 30 seconds, intercepting a Harris deep bomb.

With the win, the Alouettes moved to 3-8 on the season and are temporarily within one win of a playoff spot. Mike Sherman’s team will now enter a bye week, then prepare for a Week 14 contest against BC (3-6) on Friday Night Football (7:30 p.m. ET).

The loss dropped the REDBLACKS to 6-4 on the season; Rick Campbell’s Ottawa team will now travel across the country for a Week-13 matchup against the BC Lions (3-6) on Friday Night Football (10 p.m. ET).

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