As turnarounds go, they don’t get much more pronounced than the one the Edmonton Eskimos produced in a 33-19 win over the Montreal Alouettes at Commonwealth Stadium Thursday.
Dismantled 50-16 by Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes in Montreal on July 9, Edmonton exacted payback with a spirited defensive effort and an aerial attack that saw Ricky Ray toss three touchdown passes as the Eskimos improved to 3-2. The Alouettes, unbeaten coming in, fell to 4-1.
Outscored 32-3 in the first quarters of their first four games, the Esks denied Calvillo and the Als an early jump. A pair of Damon Duval field goals and one by Noel Prefontaine had Montreal up 6-3 after 15 minutes.
After a Duval safety early in the second quarter, Ray capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive with a five-yard swing pass to Calvin McCarty for a touchdown at 12:05 to put the Esks up 12-6. Duval’s third field goal, a 21-yarder in the final minute, sent the teams to halftime with the Esks up 12-9.
Ray and Fred Stamps produced the only points of the third quarter, hooking up on a 28-yard TD pass to put the Esks ahead 19-9. When Ray scored on a one-yard plunge two minutes into the fourth to make it 26-9 with Prefontaine’s convert, it looked like the Esks might romp. Not so fast.
Avon Cobourne cut it to 26-16 with a one-yard TD run, then Duval pulled the Als to within a touchdown with a 31-yard field goal with just over three minutes remaining. Drama? Only until Ray and Stamps got together again, this time on a 48-yard TD pass with just over two minutes to play.