Adarius Bowman’s fourth-quarter touchdown proved to be the difference as the Edmonton Eskimos remained perfect to start the season, defeating the Montreal Alouettes 23-19 on Friday.
The Eskimos are 2-0, while the Alouettes dropped to 1-1.
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 Mike Reilly to Bowman and subsequent two-point convert run from Van to put Edmonton ahead 23-16.
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 will be on a bye week before hosting Ottawa on July 14.
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.