Preview: Alouettes travel to Ottawa looking for fourth straight win
The Alouettes will be taking on the Redblacks for the second time this season but the first time in Ottawa.
The Als won the first matchup in Week 1 at Percival Molson Stadium, 19-12, in a defensive battle. The Als defence managed to intercept Ottawa quarterback Nick Arbuckle three times during that game. Cody Fajardo scored the only touchdown of the game for the Alouettes.
Let’s look at how these two teams have evolved since Week 1.
According to the Alouettes depth chart, Caleb Evans will make his second consecutive start. He helped lead the Als to an impressive 41-12 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week.
Evans, who is in his third CFL season but his first with the Alouettes, began his career with the Redblacks. The 25-year-old set the single-season record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in 2022, with 16, when he was with Ottawa.
Last February, he inked a free-agent contract with the Alouettes.
“It will be emotional for sure, but I think I’ll treat it like any other week as far wanting to go 1-0 that week,” Evans said of playing against his former team. “There will definitely be an emotional side because I was there for two years. I just need to push past that and try to go 1-0.”
The Als will get a pair of key veterans back in the lineup for this game, as running back William Stanback will replace Walter Fletcher, while defensive tackle Almondo Sewell will return after missing the game against the Roughriders.
Stanback ran for 106 yards in his last game, which was against the Tiger-Cats in Week 9. That was his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
“I feel like my patience (has improved),” Stanback said. “I slowed myself down because the game is slowing down for me. In this league, knowing the tendencies of the players you’re going up against week-in and week-out helps me out in film study because it’s almost like I know them personally.”
Austin Mack’s impressive season:
Heading into Week 11, Austin Mack is first in the CFL in several important categories. First, he leads in receiving yards, with 657. He also has the most receptions of 30 yards or more, with seven. He’s second in yards after the catch, with 266.
Prior to the start of the season, it was impossible for anyone to predict that Mack would have this kind of impact he’s had on this offence. He’s given this team a legitimate number one option in the passing game.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Als receiver finished with four receptions for 120 yards.
— Alouettes de Montréal (@MTLAlouettes) August 18, 2023
The Redblacks will come into this week’s game with a 3-6 record on the season, but they’ve been playing some good football as of late.
Even though they have dropped three games in a row, they’ve managed to make every game close. Last Sunday’s 44-31 loss to Toronto was much closer than the final score would indicate, and they dropped the two previous games to the Ticats and Riders by a combined six points.
Quarterback Dustin Crum has given their offence a jolt. He leads the CFL in yards per rushing attempt at 7.9 yards per carry.
Ottawa is last in the league in sacks allowed, as their pivots have been taken down 38 times so far in 2023. Meanwhile, the Als defence, who started the season with seven quarterback sacks in their first five games, have registered eight sacks in their last three.
Voici le balado d'avant-match qui vous prépare à l’affrontement de samedi à Ottawa !
Hosts @joeyalfieri + SamBG talk to quarterback Caleb Evans & linebacker Fred Chagnon on this week’s show!
— Alouettes de Montréal (@MTLAlouettes) August 17, 2023
On the defensive side of the ball, the Alouettes have allowed the fewest number of touchdowns this season, with 12. The Redblacks are last in that category, with 24.
This will be the second of four matchups between these two sides. The Als will return to Ottawa on Sep. 30, while the Redblacks will come to Montreal on Thanksgiving Day Monday.