Eskimos hold on to beat visiting Alouettes

Eskimos 23 Alouettes 19

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Jason Maas likes where his team is at heading into their bye week.

Adarius Bowman’s fourth-quarter touchdown proved to be the difference as the Eskimos won their second straight game to begin the season, defeating the Montreal Alouettes 23-19 on Friday.

“To be 2-0 going into your bye, it’s what you ask for, it’s what you want,” said Maas.

“The best part about this game was it wasn’t our best. A lot of discipline problems, we need to clean some things up but it’s good because we have a long week when we get back, we get to watch this film and correct them.”

Edmonton beat the B.C. Lions 30-27 in the season opener for both teams last week.

“Adarius did his job against B.C., tonight his job was to catch the ball,” said Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly of Bowman’s game-winning four-yard TD grab. “He got open and he made it happen and it was an amazing catch in the end zone for that touchdown.”

With the loss, the Alouettes dropped to 1-1.

“We had a decent first half,” said Montreal head coach Jacques Chapdelaine. “That is what is disappointing, I don’t think we matched Edmonton’s intensity in the second half. We failed to uphold a certain attention to details and things unravelled on us.”

Montreal got on the board first, with six minutes left in the opening quarter, on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Darian Durant to Tiquan Underwood. The drive started on a fumble by Eskimos running back John White.

White fumbled the ball away in his own end once again two minutes later and suffered a knee injury on the play, having to be carried off the field by a teammate. The fumble set up a 12-yard field goal by Boris Bede.

Edmonton responded with 13- and 44-yard Sean Whyte field goals in the second quarter, before Bede nailed a late kick from the 33-yard-line to make it 13-6 at the half.

The Eskimos got their act together to start the third, with Travon Van capping off a long drive with an 11-yard TD run, which went unconverted.

Montreal was in a first-and-one situation with five minutes to play in the third, but took a number of penalties and was forced to accept a field goal for a 16-12 lead.

Edmonton pulled back to within a point to end the third, as Whyte nailed a career-best 55-yard field goal.

The Eskimos took their first lead with 10:24 remaining in the fourth, as a Kenny Ladler interception eventually led to a four-yard TD pass from Reilly to Bowman and subsequent two-point convert run from Van to put Edmonton ahead 23-16.

“I got a little bit of pressure and it threw my timing off a little bit,” Durant said. “I should never have forced that ball, especially at that point in time when we had the lead.”

Montreal came right back with a 46-yard field goal from Bede, but couldn’t put themselves back up on top.

The Alouettes will return home to face the B.C. Lions next Thursday. The Eskimos are off until July 14 when they host Ottawa.

Notes: Defensive back Ryan Phillips made his Alouettes debut after missing the regular-season opener with a hamstring injury. Phillips spent 12 seasons with the Lions before being let go last winter and heading to Montreal… Korey Jones started at linebacker, replacing J.C. Sherritt, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the Eskimos’ 30-27 season-opening victory over B.C… Edmonton now sports a 41-18-2 record in home-openers.

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