LIVESTREAM CFL: Montreal Alouettes @ Ottawa REDBLACKS, Aug. 20, 01:30 CET (1:30 am, 7:30 pm Aug. 19 EDT)

OTTAWA — Three straight losses has put four points between Ottawa and Montreal in the East Division standings, a gap the REDBLACKS will try to close on Saturday night when they welcome the Alouettes to TD Place.

Ottawa was upended by Toronto last week, while Montreal won their third in a row against Saskatchewan.

Offence wasn’t the issue for the REDBLACKS in the provincial capital as they put up 31 points and will once again be led by the arm and legs of quarterback Dustin Crum.

Crum didn’t play the last time the two teams met back in Week 1 when the Alouettes snuck out with a 19-12 victory.

» Depth Chart: MTL | OTT

This time around the focus of the Als defence will be on shutting down the REDBLACKS run game. Crum leads the league with 7.9 yards per carry. That’s the most of any rusher with a minimum of 50 carries.

The Als can’t simply focus on Crum, however, as he can also hand the ball off to Devonte Williams. Williams rushed for 36 yards back in the season opener and is coming off a 10-carry, 47-yard performance against the Argos.

Countering the run will be a defensive front led by Shawn Lemon and Jamal Davis, with the support of linebacker Tyrice Beverette. They’re fourth best in the league allowing 96.9 rush yards per game.

While Crum has been known for using his legs, his arm has been on full display recently. After throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns in Toronto, the pressure by the Als front will need to help out the secondary of Marc-Antoine DequoyKabion Ento and Wesley Sutton. It’s a unit that also ranks fourth in yards allowed per game with 240.8.

Watch live. Montreal Alouettes @ Ottawa REDBLACKS, Aug. 20, 01:30 CET (1:30 am, 7:30 pm Aug. 19 EDT)

With Jaelon Acklin breaking out for 157 yards a week ago and Crum willing to spread the offence to a variety of receivers – including veterans Nate Behar and Justin Hardy -, keeping the pass game in check won’t be an easy task.

Even though he’s coming off his best game of the year, Acklin knows he needs to continue to improve and be a leader if the REDBLACKS are to get to where they want to go.

“There have been some plays we have left out there on the field, especially myself,” Acklin told “We haven’t been playing up to our capability. We have shown flashes of it in practice, but we have to be more consistent and worry about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does, we have to play better.”

The REDBLACKS defence may have faltered in their most recent game, but the bulk of their work has been solid, especially against the run. It’ll need to be good again going up against a run game that sees the return of William Stanback from injury. Even without Stanback, the Als put up 186 rushing yards in their win over the Riders. Stanback and Jeshrun Antwi give head coach Jason Maas options on the ground.

Meeting them at the line is a front that held them to 64 yards back in Week 1 and had six sacks. Stanback and company will need to find a way through defensive linemen Lorenzo Mauldin and Bryce Carter.

Maas knows his side is in for a different looking team than the one they saw back in June.

“They’re more experienced,” Maas told “They’ve been in a lot of battles. They’ve been in just about every game they’ve played. I think their eight games have been decided in the last three minutes. At the end of the day, they’re a three-phase football team, as well, they play well in all three phases. It’s going to be a difficult task for us to go in there and get a win.”

Head coach Bob Dyce is still without Brandin Dandridge in the secondary, so he’ll turn to Abdul Kanneh and Damon Webb to shut down the pass game.

Guiding the Als pass pass game will be Caleb Evans who makes his second straight start in place of Cody Fajardo who continues to progress from a shoulder injury.

Evans’ offensive line and their ability to keep him on his feet and away from contact will be critical as he tries to make reads downfield. He threw for 149 yards and rushed for an additional 60 in their win over the Riders.

Receiver Austin Mack exploited the REDBLACKS defence with 120 yards in their first meeting. Don’t be surprised to see Evans find their top target, who has has totalled 657 yards on the season, early on Saturday.

Ottawa can claw within two points of Montreal with a victory.

On the flip side, Montreal can begin to create separation between the two teams.

Watch live. Montreal Alouettes @ Ottawa REDBLACKS, Aug. 20, 01:30 CET (1:30 am, 7:30 pm Aug. 19 EDT)

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