Alouettes eager to shake off crushing loss as they host B.C. Lions

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MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes will face some familiar foes as they attempt to move on from one of their toughest losses of the season.

After falling to Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers Ottawa Redblacks 34-28 in Week 13, the Alouettes welcome former quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. and the B.C. Lions on Friday night.

B.C. acquired the veteran pivot from Montreal for a 2023 first-round draft pick on Aug. 31.

The Lions (8-2) will let Adams, who has only participate in a handful practices with his new team, begin the game from the sidelines. Antonio Pipkin, another former Alouette, will start the game behind centre, but Lions head coach Rick Campbell expects Adams to see some action.

“We fully anticipate him dressing and we fully anticipate him playing in some fashion, and how much that is, is to be determined,” Campbell said.

Adams will have a sense of deja-vu as he suits up for the Lions for the first time against his former club. The 29-year-old had a similar experience during his college days at the University of Oregon.

“It’s funny because when I transferred from Eastern Washington to Oregon, my first game playing was against Eastern Washington,” he said. “And so now I’m getting traded here and my first game is against Montreal. It’s going to be interesting but I love the guys in the locker room over there, so it’ll be fun.”

The Alouettes (4-7) are halfway through a four-game home stint. Following last week’s loss, where they allowed four turnovers and handed the Redblacks their first back-to-back wins of the year, Alouettes general manager and interim coach Danny Maciocia invited his team to “look at themselves in the mirror.”

Maciocia said that the Als are their own worst enemy

“I am a firm believer that we're good enough to play versus anybody and beat anybody, as long as we don't beat ourselves,” he said. “I've mentioned this on several accounts that sometimes our biggest opponent is ourselves.

“I'm not overly concerned about who we play, my concern is more along the lines of how we play.”

Campbell recognized that beating the Alouettes won’t be a walk in the park either. While the Western Conference rules over the East once again this season, the Alouettes remain the only team to beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“They’re a good team, they have a lot of good players, they have an experienced quarterback that knows how to win — so that’s a lot of assets that make them tough,” Campbell said. “I know a lot of games they’ve lost have been tough, close ones so we know we will have to play well to go in there and beat them. They’re a good football team that’s proven they can beat anyone in this league.”

The Alouettes will have two new cards to play on defence as newly acquired players Thomas Costigan and Nafees Lyon both suit up for the first time Friday night. Lyon will line up as the starting cornerback while Costigan is listed as the No. 2 left defensive end.

“I acquired Costigan because we need to get to the quarterback,” Maciocia said. “We don’t need to bring in six or seven players, we need to get to the quarterback with four or five players.

“When you get there with four or five, that means you have seven or eight players in coverage and on offence you only have six players eligible to catch the ball.”

MONTREAL ALOUETTES (4-7) VS. BC LIONS (8-2)

Friday, Percival Molson Stadium

CHASING 500: Lions running back James Butler is 33 yards away from hitting the 500 rushing yard mark. In his second season in the CFL, Butler’s rushing total from last season was 497 yards in 11 games played.

WILSON ON THE BUBBLE: The Alouettes have listed defensive back Raheem Wilson as a game-time decision ahead of Friday’s game. Wilson had three defensive tackles in last week’s loss to Ottawa.

O’CONNOR IN UNIFORM: Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor will also be suiting up for the Lions in Montreal as the third string. The Orleans, Ont. native had been struggling with a groin injury. O’Connor has thrown for 157 yards this season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2022.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press