Eskimos 32 Alouettes 25
EDMONTON — Kenny Stafford reeled in a pair of touchdown passes from Trevor Harris as the new-look Edmonton Eskimos survived a scare to start the season on a positive note with a 32-25 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.
Harris threw three touchdown passes and ran in another while passing for 447 yards on 32-of-41 attempts in the air.
After Montreal (0-1) conceded a safety on its first possession, Edmonton (1-0) came close to adding to its lead, only to see Ricky Collins Jr., fumble the ball away at the Alouettes’ five-yard-line, with the turnover going to Marcus Cromartie.
A punt return fumble recovery by Montreal’s Boseko Lokombo would lead to an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Antonio Pipkin to DeVier Posey and a 7-2 Alouettes lead.
The Eskimos finally got their act together midway through the second with a long drive capped off by a 27-yard TD pass from Harris to Stafford.
Montreal responded with a single on a missed field goal by Boris Bede before Edmonton took a 16-8 lead into the half on a 10-yard TD pass from Harris to Stafford.
The Als conceded another safety midway through the third prior to Pipkin getting injured and helped off the field, with Vernon Adams coming in as his replacement.
Edmonton added to its lead to start the fourth with a 23-yard TD pass from Harris to CJ Gable.
Montreal responded quickly with a five-yard TD run by William Stanback and then kept the comeback underway midway through the final frame on a 17-yard TD pass from Adams to BJ Cunningham to make it 25-22.
Bede then tied the game with a 52-yard field goal with 2:18 remaining,
However, the Eskimos came marching back and regained the lead with a one-yard TD from Harris with just over a minute to play and got a huge Anthony Orange interception to secure the victory.
The Edmonton Eskimos host Mike Reilly and the B.C. Lions next Friday, while Montreal has a bye before heading to Hamilton on June 28.
Notes: It was the first ever game as head coach for Khari Jones, as the former Als offensive coordinator replaced Mike Sherman in the top position during a controversial pre-season move… The Eskimos came into the contest having defeated Montreal in 10 consecutive regular season meetings, dating back to Oct. 5, 2013… The Eskimos honoured former receiver and four-time CFL All-Star Fred Stamps, who signed a one-day contract in the off-season to officially retire with Edmonton.