After blowing a 15-point lead in the final few minutes of play in regulation time last week in Calgary, the 3-2 BC Lions look to get back on a winning track in Montreal today, facing off against the 2-3 Alouettes.
The Lions are about to finish off an unusual stretch where they haven’t played at home for a span of what will end up being 37 days. That is indeed, a club record.
There were a lot of good things that came out of last week’s loss to Calgary, so I’m looking forward to seeing if the positives can carry through in Week 7.
Venue: Percival Molson Stadium, Montreal
Date/Time: Thursday, August 4 at 4 pm
Radio: TSN 1040
Early starts are essential
BC’s defence has allowed only a total of 12 first quarter points all season thus far. It’s always a huge advantage for a team when they’re able to set the tone early in the opening frame, rather than being forced to wake up and play comeback ball in the second half.
Defensive linemen Craig Roh and Mic’hael Brooks are inactive for this evening’s game after injuries they sustained in the Calgary game. DT Bryant Turner Jr. and DE Andrew Hudson will be their replacements. Turner Jr. has four years of CFL experience under his belt, and was a CFL All-Star in 2012 as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Hudson is known for his time at Washington from 2011-2014. He earned an honourable mention All-Pac 12 nod game for the Huskies as a senior in 2014.
Montreal’s 41-point burst last Friday against the Riders ended a run of 26 games in they did not hit the 40-point mark. Quarterback Kevin Glenn looked great in his return after missing a few games with an eye injury. Montreal has looked lost on offence without the presence of the wily vet, but with Glenn healthy, look out.
Stepping in for the injured running back Tyrell Sutton, the Alouettes have found a great contributor in Brandon Rutley. He had 107 yards on 16 touches last week. WR Duron Carter will be another talent to keep a close eye on. Carter, the son of NFL Hall-of Famer Chris Carter, led the CFL in receiving back in 2014 before testing his talents in the NFL last year.
Alouettes elite defence
At the start of the season, you would’ve thought Montreal’s talented receiving corps would lead the way, but with the gruesome injury to star slotback S.J. Green, the defence has been the group that’s put this team on the map.
Led by veteran defensive end John Bowman and linebacker Chip Cox, Montreal currently ranks #1 in the CFL allowing just 21.2 points per game through Week 6.
The Alouettes have allowed opponents to start drives in the Montreal end of the field only seven times through five games. That is currently the lowest total in the CFL.
Restoring Jennings’ confidence
Despite the two terrible interceptions that played a mega role in the Lions choke job in Week 6, Jennings has thrown three touchdown passes in each of the last two games. Before that, Jennings had only one to account for through three games.
To make things easier for the sophomore, Jennings has seemingly found his go-to receiver in slotback Bryan Burnham. Burnham has recorded two consecutive 100-yard receiving games for BC, the first two of his CFL career. He has caught 14 passes on 18 Targets for 242 yards with seven of them resulting in key second down conversions for the Lions.
Last week, wideout Emmanuel Arceneaux found his stride with his first 100+ yard receiving game of the season. Arceneaux is easily the most talented and gifted option for Jennings to pass to, so hopefully he continues his trend in the right direction going forward.
Running back Jeremiah Johnson returns to BC’s lineup as the starter over Anthony Allen, who ran for just 26 yards on 11 carries last week. Before Johnson’s ankle injury in the final half of the Week 2 game against Hamilton, the Los Angeles native had run for 120 yards on 21 rushing attempts.
“It feels awesome man, getting back in that huddle with my guys.” – Jeremiah Johnson excited to return to lineup 👊🏽🏈https://t.co/YnvG1eTWDv
— BC Lions (@BCLions) August 3, 2016
26-20 BC. Montreal is just 2-7 at Molson Stadium in their last nine home games, and the Lions have got to be hungry with a bad taste in their mouths after blowing their most recent tilt. Jennings restores his mojo with a savvy game against the stingy Alouettes D, en route to a Lions win.