Alouettes-Stampeders Preview

National Sports

After opening with a bye, things went just about as well as they could for the Montreal Alouettes in last weekend’s season opener.

As for the Calgary Stampeders, things could not be going much worse.

The Alouettes look to open with consecutive wins for the first time in 10 years Friday night when they visit the Stampeders, who are not only winless and sputtering offensively but are reeling after losing Bo Levi Mitchell to injury.

Montreal was the last team to kick off its 2021 season, and didn’t waste any time showing it will be in the Grey Cup conversation with an emphatic 30-13 win over the Edmonton Elks on Saturday.

Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns, while William Stanback rushed for 112 yards on 18 carries to lead the offence. The defence kept the Elks out of the end zone until the final two minutes of the game and on special teams, Mario Alford returned a punt 73 yards for a score.

“That’s what we expect from each other,” Adams said. “I don’t even think we looked as sharp as you guys are saying. I’m just excited to where we can build. We’re going to keep working each week and I’m gonna keep getting better and better for my guys.”

Things for the Stampeders (0-2) are getting worse and worse.

Mitchell suffered a broken fibula in Calgary’s season-opening 23-20 loss to the Toronto Argonauts and then played on it last Thursday and struggled mightily, throwing four interceptions in a 15-9 setback to the BC Lions.

The two-time Most Outstanding Player winner was placed on the six-game injured list Tuesday, opening the door at quarterback for 25-year-old Canadian Michael O’Connor.

So now O’Connor, whose only CFL experience came as a rookie for Toronto in 2019, when he threw for 173 yards and one touchdown in the final two games of the season, now takes over an offence that has scored just one TD while surrendering eight turnovers – the second most in the league.

“Just play within myself – don’t try to do too much,” O’Connor said. “Getting the ball to our playmakers – let the receivers make plays – is going to be big. You can’t win the game in one play and can’t lose the game in one play. So just stay within myself.”

The Stampeders lost both meetings with the Alouettes in 2019, and are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since losing their first four games in 2002.

Montreal, meanwhile, is looking to open a season with back-to-back wins for the first time since starting 3-0 in 2011.

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