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Alouettes hold on for victory over host Elks

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson (94) tackles Edmonton Elks quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (10) during CFL action on June 14, 2024, at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson (94) tackles Edmonton Elks quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson (10) during CFL action on June 14, 2024, at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)
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Walter Fletcher scored a pair of touchdowns and the Montreal Alouettes continued to look solid to start their Grey Cup title defence, emerging with a 23-20 victory over the Edmonton Elks on Friday.

The Alouettes are now 2-0 to start the season, while the Elks dropped to 0-2.

Montreal quarterback Cody Fajardo connected on 20 of his 30 pass attempts for 269 yards and two majors.

Walter Fletcher added a rushing TD and David Cote kicked a 53-yard field goal for the Als.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson amassed 300 passing yards for Edmonton and was picked off twice.

Elks backup Dakota Prukop muscled in a pair of TDs on the ground and Boris Bede made two 48-yard field goals.

Montreal started the scoring on its first possession as a long pass up the middle by Fajardo to Kaion Julien-Grant eventually set up a five-yard passing play that saw receiver Cole Spieker get a finger on the ball and then reel it in on the way down for the touchdown.

Bethel-Thompson orchestrated a competent drive for an immediate response, capped off by a one-yard TD plunge by Prukop.

The Alouettes regained the lead to start the second quarter on a long 53-yard field goal b Cote.

Edmonton knotted the game back up with two minutes left in the second frame on a 48-yard field goal by Bede.

Montreal Alouettes' Tyson Philpot (right) is tackled by Edmonton Elks' Leon O'Neal Jr. (32) and Marcus Lewis (8) during CFL action on June 14, 2024, at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)Montreal took a 17-10 lead with 24 seconds remaining in the opening half after Fajardo hit Fletcher with a short pass before he found a seam and turned on the jets, blazing 46 yards for the touchdown.

Bede booted another 48-yard field goal for Edmonton to close out the first half.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Cote hoped to extend Montreal’s lead but missed a 46-yard field goal attempt.

Edmonton put together a long drive, only to see Bethel-Thompson intercepted at the Montreal two-yard line by Kabion Ento.

The Alouettes quickly turned that into points of their own, as Fletcher took a handoff and blazed 39 yards into the end zone for his second major of the match with 2:18 remaining on the clock. The convert attempt hit the uprights.

Edmonton mounted another strong drive in the late stages and it paid off this time as Prukop went in from short yardage once again with 33 seconds remaining, although it did take three tries from the one to do so.

The Elks attempted to get the ball back on an on-side kick try, but the Alouettes were able to hang on to the ball and run out the clock.

Quick slants

  • The Elks were buoyed by the return of veteran defensive back Lucheiz Purifoy.
  • The Alouettes’ opening week victory over Winnipeg came at a cost as three players were injured — receiver Tyler Snead, linebacker Tyrell Richards and defensive back Reggie Stubblefield, the latter of which will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
  • Montreal came into the contest as winners of four of the past five meetings with Edmonton. Previous to that, Edmonton had captured 11 straight victories.

Up next

The Alouettes return home to host Ottawa on Thursday, while the Elks travel to Toronto to face the Argos on June 22.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2024.