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BC Lions (7-4) at Montreal Alouettes (6-4) Labour Day Weekend Preview: Prediction, Depth Chart, Injuries, Odds, Adams Jr. and Usher Return to Montreal

The BC Lions travel to Montreal to play the Alouettes on Saturday night to kick off the CFL’s long weekend. Both teams are coming off tough losses to out-of-division opponents. It is the 14th time these teams have met in the Labour Day Classic of which BC has won 7 of the previous 13.

Montreal Alouettes (6-4)-: The Montreal Alouettes weathered playing without their quarterback Cody Fajardo winning 2 games without him but had a poor offensive output in his return against Winnipeg. The Alouettes took a loss last week against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the road losing 47-17. Montreal struggled offensively scoring only a field goal with the 2 touchdowns coming from pick 6s.

BC Lions (7-4): The BC Lions have lost 2 games in a row for just the 2nd time in their last 30 games and have not lost 3 games in a row since November 2021. Last week the Lions were surprised by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who beat them at home 13-30. The week before they lost a close one to Saskatchewan 29-34 nearly pulling off a comeback as they entered the 4th quarter trailing by 18 points.

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Game Details:

Date/Location: Saturday, September 2 /Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Montreal, QC
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT
Channel: TSN (Canada), CFL+ (USA, International)

Spread: Montreal -3.5 (-115), BC +3.5 (-105)

Moneyline: Montreal -190, BC +160

Over/Under: 47.5 (Over -105, Under +160)

Montreal Alouettes

Injury Bug

The Alouettes are in a patch of adversity in the form of injuries on defense. They have Ciante Evans returning at halfback after missing 5 games due to injury. However, they will be without Tyrell Richards who scored a touchdown last week as a 2nd-string middle linebacker as well as Wesley Sutton who started every game so far this season at halfback. Sutton and Richards sustained injuries last week and will join Avery Williams, Najee Murray, Dionte Ruffin, and Nafees Lyon on the 6-game injured list who were starting linebackers and defensive backs to begin the season.

On offense, Montreal lost receivers Jake Harty and Quartney Davis to the 6-game injured list 2 weeks ago, and running back Walter Fletcher is back on the 1-game injured list.

Defensive Line

Montreal’s defensive line has seen their pass rush improve with the addition of Shawn Lemon who has 4 sacks in just 5 games played. Mustafa Johnson has 4 sacks as well at defensive tackle and had a strong game last week in which he had a sack, a QB pressure, and 3 quality run stops as well as a couple of other good run tackles.

Avery Ellis is getting the start on the other side at the defensive end which will be his first start of the season after being a 2nd string player for the last 9 games. Ellis has 1 sack and 6 tackles so far. Jamal Davis will line up behind him on the depth chart after starting the first 10 games of the season. 

Almondo Sewell is starting in his 10th game of the season at defensive tackle and has 9 tackles and 1 sack.


Tyrice Beverette is starting at weak-side linebacker and has been a cornerstone for Montreal starting in all but 1 game so far. Beverette leads the team in tackles with 49 and also has 2 sacks and 3 passes defended.

Frederic Chagnon will get his 5th start at middle linebacker where he has played pretty well filling in for the injured Avery Williams. J.R Reed is starting in his 5th game as cover linebacker and has 19 tackles and an interception so far.

Defensive Backs

Kordell Rodgers and Kabion Ento have both shown a high level of skill at cornerback as CFL rookies who began the season on the practice roster. Reggie Stubblefield is another CFL rookie who is getting his 5th start at halfback. All 3 have played well but there have been a few times last week against Winnipeg in which a miscommunication has happened switching who is covering who in zone coverage. At safety, Marc-Antoine Dequoy has been elite and has made his presence felt on the entire field.

Wide Receivers

Austin Mack leads the CFL with 828 receiving yards and also has 3 touchdowns. Tyler Snead has been highly productive lately and has 338 yards and 5 touchdowns over 7 games.

Cole Spieker is starting at halfback as well who started the first 3 games for Montreal but was off to a slower start not seeing many targets. Spieker had 6 catches for 105 yards in his 2nd CFL game late last season.

Tyson Philpot is starting at receiver in what will be his 6th game of the season due to missing the first 5 to injury.

At long last Greg Ellingson is making his season debut after missing the first 10 games due to injury. Ellingson missed 10 games last season with the Bombers but still had a production level that would have seen him finish over 1,200 yards in a full season. Ellingson had 38 catches for 598 yards and 3 touchdowns in 8 games last season.

At runningback

Montreal struggled to break loose on the run game last week against the Blue Bombers and averaged 4 yards per carry for just 43 yards on their 11 run plays. A common practice for Montreal this season has often been abandoning the run and they only rushed 3 times in the 2nd half.

Cody Fajardo will be looking for a bounceback game after completing 14 of his 25 passes last week for just 137 yards and an interception. He did make some good plays in the face of pressure but was ultimately unable to come up with a better result.

BC Lions

Key Injuries

The Lions’ receiving room is looking a bit banged up. Dominique Rhymes who leads the team in touchdowns remains on the 6-game injured list. Alexander Hollins and Keon hatcher who are 1st and 2nd in receiving yards are both listed as questionable.

Jalon Edwards-Cooper has been solid at cornerback but will miss this game.

At tackle, Nathan Cherry will miss his 2nd game in a row.

Defensive Line

Mathieu Betts has been quarterback-hunting this season as he leads the team with 12 sacks. Betts has been a pass-rush pressure generator so far this season. He also has 2 forced fumbles, a knockdown, and 29 tackles. Betts is 5 sacks away from the Canadian sack record. Sione Teuhema is starting on the other side at defensive end. Teuhema has 3 sacks and 14 tackles.

The starting tackles this week are Woody Baron who has 4 sacks and 10 tackles and Josh Banks who has 1 sack and 6 tackles.

BC will often rotate players in and out on the defensive line. Tibo Debaillie, Francis Bemiy, Amir Siddiq, and David Menard are listed as 2nd-string defensive linemen. 

Nick Usher is making his debut as a BC Lion. He started at defensive end for Montreal’s first 5 games before he was released in conjecture with the Shawn Lemon signing. Usher had 1 sack and 5 tackles for Montreal prior to his release.


BC has Bo Lokombo at weakside linebacker, Ben Hladik at middle linebacker, and Manny Rugamba at cover linebacker. BC is fortunate to have only lost 1 man game from this group of talented starters so far this season. 

Lokombo has 60 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 passes defended and an interception. Hladik has 53 tackles, a sack, and an interception. Rugamba has 41 tackles and 2 sacks.

Defensive Backs

BC’s defensive back group has been elite this season but will be without Jalon Edwards-Cooper at cornerback who suffered a shoulder injury last week. Mike Jones will get the start in his absence who played very as the starter in week 10 when Edwards-Cooper was previously injured.

Garry Peters is starting at cornerback on the other side and will look to continue the no-fly zone policies that typically come with Peters Island. Peters is tied for third in the league in knockdowns with 8 and also has 3 interceptions.

T.J. Lee and Marcus Sayles have both been very good and have both started every game at halfback. Lee has 3 knockdowns and a pick, Sayles has 2 knockdowns. Quincy Mauger is starting again at safety and has an interception and 3 knockdowns.


Alexander Hollins (knee) and Keon Hatcher (foot) are both listed as questionable on the injury report. On the depth chart Hollins has a game-time decision designation whereas Hatcher does not. Hollins leads the team with 791 yards and 4 touchdowns and Hatcher is close behind him with 764 yards and 4 touchdowns despite having missed the first 3 games.

Lucky Whitehead has contributed 440 yards and 2 touchdowns. Justin McInnis has been solid when elevated to a starting role contributing 24 catches for 370 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Jevon Cottoy is always good for some short passes that he maximizes rumbling through a crowd. Cottoy has 360 yards and a touchdown.

Taquan Mizzell at running back will see his 10th start in his CFL rookie season. Mizzell has been quite good contributing 519 yards on 106 carries as well as 166 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.

Vernon Adams Jr. is very familiar with Montreal having played 7 years there prior to being traded to BC last season. Adams is second in yards in the league with 2,651 in 9 games with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has passed for 1,103 yards and 8 touchdowns in the last 3 games.

Depth Charts:

Score Prediction:

Frankly, I expect BC to win this game. I find both teams to be very good but I think BC is going to want it more coming off their 2nd loss in a row. The Lions’ defense has been extremely fierce this season and will be very hungry for a win coming into Montreal. I expect Vernon Adams Jr. to put together a big performance in front of his old fans in Montreal. 

Montreal has often struggled in games in which they don’t establish the run, abandon the run, and then give up too many sacks after abandoning the run. If William Stanback can get the ground game going Montreal will have a chance but BC is really hard to run against. BC also brings a very effective pass rush. I do think Cody Fajardo is going to play well and make some magic escaping sacks.

Montreal has played very good defense as well and has had great performances from rookies on both sides of the ball.

While I am a big believer in the abilities of Montreal defensive rookies like Kabion Ento, Reggie Stubblefield, and Kordell Rodgers, they only have 25 combined CFL starts among the 3 of them. It would not surprise me in the slightest if they lock it down and surprise everyone as they are highly talented. BC brings an explosive passing game so it is a big task for young players.

I predict BC to win this game by a score of 27 to 20.

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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