Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw for more 300 yards for the fourth consecutive game, and the B.C. Lions snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating the Montreal Alouettes 34-25 in a back-and-forth affair Saturday night.
Adams, starting in Montreal for the first time since being traded by the Alouettes last season, went 21-for-33 for 306 yards and three touchdown passes for B.C. (8-4) at Molson Stadium. He also rushed for 54 yards.
Lions receiver Alexander Hollins had two touchdown receptions and 88 receiving yards.
ANOTHER ONE 🤯
Make that 2 for Alex Hollins
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) September 3, 2023
Montreal quarterback Cody Fajardo threw for 308 yards and one touchdown on 22-for-35 completions, but also committed two crucial interceptions.
Trailing 27-25 with five minutes left in the game, Montreal faked a punt on third down to get within 22 yards of B.C.’s end zone, but Fajardo’s throw on the next play was pick off by Lions safety Quincy Mauger.
Montreal appeared to hold off B.C. on multiple occasions on the ensuing drive, but were undone by penalties, once for unnecessary roughness and once for roughing the quarterback on a play that was initially ruled a sack for defensive tackle Almondo Sewell. The reverse of the call after review received loud boos from the 17,112 spectators on hand.
Lions running back Taquan Mizzell eventually ran the ball seven yards into the end zone to give B.C. a 34-25 lead with 1:33 left and put the game out of reach. Fajardo then threw his second pick.
The fourth quarter had started with a moment of magic from Montreal running back William Stanback, who ran for 102 yards on the night.
Stanback split the defence down the middle and rushed to a 69-yard TD — his first major of the season on his longest run so far to put Montreal up 25-24. B.C. then kicked a field goal to go up 27-25.
Austin Mack built on his league lead in receiving yards with 143 on seven receptions, including one touchdown.
Montreal kicker David Cote went 4-for-5 with one rouge. B.C. kicker Sean Whyte went 2-for-2.
After Montreal kicked a field goal to open the scoring, B.C. produced the first touchdown of the game with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter. Adams led the Lions downfield with passes and runs before finding Hollins in the end zone with a six-yard throw.
A field goal by B.C. held as the only points of the second quarter until the Lions broke into the end zone with 3:48 remaining in the half.
Adams let it fly down the middle and Hollins brought it down under double coverage before running into the end zone for a 62-yard TD. The Lions took a 17-6 lead after a successful kick.
Montreal came close to replying, and had four separate snaps within the B.C. 15-yard line thanks to a Lions offside penalty, but continued having issues getting in the end zone and settled for a field goal.
The Alouettes got downfield once more before the half ended, giving themselves just enough time for Cote to kick a 40-yard field goal and cut the deficit to 17-12.
To open the second half, Montreal broke through with Mack making an acrobatic catch deep in the right side of the end zone and just barely staying in bounds, redeeming an end-zone pass he dropped in the first half.
The 30-yard touchdown pass from Fajardo was Montreal’s first offensive TD since two weeks ago against Ottawa and gave Montreal an 18-17 lead after missing a two-point convert.
B.C. regained the lead with 2:20 left in the third, going up 24-19 as Adams connected with Keon Hatcher on a 17-yard TD pass before Stanback replied with his TD run to open the fourth.
LEGENDS IN THE HOUSE
At halftime, the Alouettes honoured five alumni set for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on Sept. 15: defensive end John Bowman, offensive linemen Josh Bourke and Loyd Fairbanks, former president Larry Smith and former assistant coach Jacques Dussault.
The Alouettes head to Toronto next week for the first of two consecutive games against the Argonauts. Montreal then plays host to Toronto the following week.
The Lions have a bye week and next play at home on Sept. 16 against the Ottawa Redblacks.
Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press