MONTREAL – At the start of the fourth quarter, the Edmonton Elks were down 31-18. Chris Jones’ team relied on quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who had yet to make a start this season.
Kai Locksley hurried two yards to get the Elks (2-4) back in the game, but Edmonton missed their two-point conversion.
This did not empty the fighting Elks. Lockley added another TD rush. Finally, Cornelius won a 32-31 comeback victory over the Montreal Alouettes at Percival Molson Stadium on Thursday.
“When we got (the first touchdown) we went for two to try to move on and hit it in. It didn’t work out very well for us,” said Elks coach Chris Jones. “Then we scored again. I knew that if we kicked the first one, and if we kicked the second one, we would be up by one point and then, and I was hoping we could burn more clock.
“We ended up getting the ball back, we scored and drove the ball down to zero and were able to get off the field.”
Cornelius spent five weeks watching fights from the sidelines, pushed down into the depth chart by Nick Arbuckle and Tre Ford. With Arbuckle switching to the Ottawa Redblacks and Ford on the injury list for a few weeks, Cornelius had to step up and not miss his chance to throw the winning touchdown pass.
The 26-year-old found Kenny Lawler with a 10-yard touchdown pass and Elks got the win.
“That was all you want in a game you know to have the ball in your hands in a game like that,” Cornelius said. “And Kenny, who does his job, it takes everyone. It wasn’t just me who made that game. It was everyone who made it possible, and then he came up with a damn grip there in the end zone.”
Elks took advantage of two big pass interference calls from Alouette’s defensive back Wesley Sutton. In total, Alouettes (1-4) accumulated 193 penalty yards during the match.
“It’s a difficult one to take,” said Montreal head coach and GM Danny Maciocia. “We lead by 19, we draw a court game to get the ball back and we have the opportunity to score again and we are offside and there is a turnover on the same game. At that time we were not able to get this game back.
“We need to know how to finish. When you lead by 19, you have to find a way to close the match.”
Locksley rushed to two touchdowns. Cornelius threw 225 yards, one interception and got the win with his lone touchdown pass.
Alouettes quarterback Trevor Harris threw 241 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Dominique Davis hurried to two touchdowns.
With both away wins this season, Jones and Elks are aware that the next step is to win a match at Commonwealth Stadium.
“Hell, it’s been a long time since we won a home game, so as an organization it’s extremely important,” Jones said. “You have to win home games and we have not played well. So it has not only been the fact that we lost the games, we have not played well at home.”
Sherman Badie made a five-yard rush to Edmonton’s first touchdown, but Castillo missed his conversion and gave the Elks an early 6-0 lead.
David Cote kicked a 19-yard field goal, reducing Montreal’s deficit to three by the end of the first quarter.
Alouettes scored three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter.
Harris found Tyson Philpot with a 12-yard pass to his first CFL touchdown. He then threw a 33-yard pass to Eugene Lewis for his first TD of the season.
Marc-Antoine Dequoy made his second career interception and was stopped at the one-yard line. Dominique Davis made a yard QB snug and pushed Montreal’s lead to 24-6.
Castillo converted back-to-back field goals late in the second quarter to bring the score to 24-12 at the break.
Davis added another one-yard sneak TD in the third quarter, bringing Montreal up 31-12.
Locksley got the Elks back in the game with a two-yard rush for a touchdown to open the fourth quarter, but Edmonton failed on their two-point conversion.
Locksley hurried into his second touchdown of the game with 10:55 left on the clock to bring the score to 31-25 for Montreal.
After a 50-yard pass interference call on Sutton, his second in the fourth quarter, the Elks came to the red zone. Cornelius found Kenny Lawler with a 10-yard touchdown pass to win.
Alouettes announced during the match that the team had acquired the CFL rights to offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from Calgary Stampeders. In return, Calgary received two conditional draft picks, a second-round pick and a first-round pick in case Duvernay-Tardif continued his career in Montreal.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2022.