June 16, 2020

Wieneke, the hero of the Alouettes greatest comeback

MONTREAL – This Tuesday, RDS continues its special programming of Le Football des Alouettes. The official French-language broadcaster of the Canadian Football League (CFL) will be presenting the Montreal Alouettes comeback victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that took place on September 21, 2019, at Percival-Molson Stadium. The game will be broadcasted starting at 7 P.M.

It was a hot day and summer was nearing its end. Our Alouettes were in the race to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014. The Bombers had to rely on Streveler behind center, who was making his fourth consecutive start for the injured Matt Nichols. Our birds had to keep a close eye on Chris Streveler and Andrew Harris, two of the Bombers’ biggest threats, all while finding ways to circumvent the very effective Winnipeg defense.

In 2019, Jake was having a breakout season in his first year in the CFL and with the Alouettes.

The game started fast and furious for the Blue Bombers, leading 21-3 following their first three possessions at offense. At the end of the showdown, Harris had accumulated 76 rushing yards and 112 receiving yards. His teammate quarterback Chris Streveler had gone 9-for-11 for 88 yards, accumulating 84 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground in the first half.

Despite the Bombers’ exploits, the Alouettes managed to orchestrate a 24-point comeback and end the battle with a 38-37 win in front of a euphoric crowd. It was the Alouettes biggest comeback since 1981, when Montreal rallied from down 20 points against the Toronto Argonauts.

We witnessed impressive performances from many Alouettes players during this game. But the one who tied the game, and thereby scored the winning touchdown, is none else than Jake Wieneke. During the battle, he secured eight of 12 targets for 134 yards…pretty impressive considering his rookie status.

The man of the hour remembers this crazy battle. “Oh yeah, I remember this game,” he answered laughing. “I remember that we were trailing behind by a lot. We were looking at each other on the sidelines and knew that we were going to win the game.”

“We had been playing lot of catch-up football in 2019, it wasn’t a new situation for us, but our deficit was larger than usual. We were confident that we would be able to overcome the deficit, and that’s what we did.”

” What a fun game! ”

After having spent the 2018 season with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL, the Maple Grove native signed a contract with the Montreal Alouettes on January 10, 2019.

Wieneke, standing at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, is a product of South Dakota State University (2014-2017). He finished his collegiate career as the Missouri Valley Football Conference career leader in receptions with 288, in receiving yards with 5,157 and in receiving touchdowns with 59.

The Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. racked up 488 passing yards and scored the team’s first touchdown of the night.

Let’s get back to the game. At halftime, the Alouettes were trailing behind by 17 points. What did Khari Jones say to his guys for them to come back so motivated during the second half? Wieneke can’t recall his exact words, he remembers the gist of his message.

“I’m sure he said something along the lines of ‘It didn’t go as planned in the first half, but we can beat them. We can win this game. We just have to go on the field and fight. I trust you and I love you. Let’s go win this game’, ” said Wieneke.

Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. gave fans one heck of a show that night, racking up 488 passing yards and four touchdowns, and 38 rushing yards with another touchdown. And he still had the energy to spare on his last offensive drive. With 62 seconds left before the clock hit triple zeros, the Alouettes offense moved up 95 yards. Wieneke made an acrobatic catch to keep his guys on the field and Quan Bray caught a 60-yard pass. The drive ended with a 15-yard pass from Adams Jr. to Wieneke for a touchdown. With six seconds left, Boris Bede nailed the convert and just like that, our Alouettes won the game.

“I clearly remember this sequence,” said Wieneke. “I think that we were in a second and long, the ball was someone’s hand and I just dove and opened my hands. Then, Quan ran for about 80 yards, I think. And a few plays later, VA (Vernon Adams Jr.) threw a perfect pass and I thought to myself ‘Please don’t hit the goal post, please don’t hit the goal post.’ It was an incredible sequence.”

“I was so excited (to have scored the winning touchdown), said Jake. “There was so much emotion. We were so far behind, but we never gave up. We knew we could make it and we finally won. It was an incredible feeling and everyone was so excited.”

Jake Wieneke is all smiles, having scored the winning touchdown of an unbelievable showdown.

Jake Wieneke made his CFL and Alouettes debut in 2019. For a player who had competed in the United States for most of his life, the transition seems to have gone pretty smoothly. He ended the 2019 season with 41 passes for 569 yards and 8 touchdowns. His hard work paid off, as he was awarded the titles of “East division Most Outstanding rookie” and “Alouettes’ Most Outstanding rookie”. Despite all this, he still faces challenges.

“The rules are different, that’s for sure. My biggest challenge as a receiver was to get used to the small differences between American and Canadian football. But I have great role models and coaches to help me. There were many great leaders in the receiving squad that took me under their wing,” he said.

” I have many goals for the future,” he explained. “My biggest one is to make sure I improve every day to become the best receiver I can be and to help my team as much as I can. Also, I want to become one of the best receivers of the league. My other goal, like every other player in the CFL, is to win a Grey Cup. “

Yes, a Grey Cup. The young receiver believes the Alouettes have everything it takes to win the big trophy in the near future. “Yes, we are ready,” said Wieneke. “We are very confident, and we can’t wait to compete for the Grey Cup this year.”

While we wait for the action to come back, we can rewatch this memorable September 21, 2019 showdown. And let’s bet you’ll still get goosebumps…