Alouettes clinch home playoff berth with win over Redblacks

Dominique Davis' late rushing touchdown lifted the Montreal Alouettes to a 34-30 win over the Ottawa Redblacks and a post-season berth on Friday night.

Davis puts Montreal on top with late rushing TD; Ottawa loses 11th straight at home

Alouettes defensive back Adarius Pickett, centre, celebrates after returning a fumble for a touchdown during the first quarter of his team's 34-30 win over the Redblacks on Friday night at TD Place in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The Montreal Alouettes turned a sluggish start to the season into a post-season berth.

Dominique Davis' late rushing touchdown lifted the Alouettes to a playoff-clinching 34-30 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night. Montreal (8-8), which started the year 2-6, is now set to host a post-season game in the coming weeks.

"It's a character-building win. I keep mentioning that we want to bring a championship home and we want to keep stacking our bricks. We're one step closer with a home playoff game now," said Alouettes defensive lineman Jamal Davis II.

"We executed in the second half, so shout out to the defence. That's really what it was, not getting down when things were shifting up and down throughout the game. It was just keeping our demeanour and I'm happy we came out with the win."

Entering the fourth quarter with a 27-24 lead, Montreal went down by three points due to 44- and 10-yard field goals from Ottawa (4-12) kicker Lewis Ward with just over nine minutes remaining.

Davis' one-yard touchdown run with less than three minutes remaining put the Alouettes ahead for good to claim the victory.

WATCH | Davis punches in late TD as Alouettes clinch playoff spot:

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Dominique Davis' late touchdown in the fourth quarter secured the win as Montreal defeated Ottawa 34-30.

The loss was the 11th straight at home for the Redblacks, who have just one victory in their past 22 outings at TD Place Stadium. Ottawa remains alive for a playoff berth but needs to win its final two games and have the Saskatchewan Roughriders drop their last two contests.

"It's definitely deflating losing like that but at this point of the season you just have to keep fighting. We're still waking up to accomplish things that are within our reach," said Redblacks rookie wide receiver Siaosi Mariner.

Montreal quarterback Trevor Harris went 19-of-27 passing for 241 yards and one touchdown in the win. Kicker David Côté contributed a pair of field goals from 23 and 45 yards out.

"This was a total team win, and maybe the biggest team win of the year.," Harris said. "Defence, special teams, offence, we were all in it together, and that's what counts."

Redblacks QB Nick Arbuckle paced his squad going 28-of-36 passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns.

"Every time we lose I'm a little disappointed, but certainly not disappointed in the effort of the guys out there," Redblacks head coach Bob Dyce said.

"We thought it was going to be a game that would go down to the wire, and it did. We had our opportunities, we just didn't seize our final one."

The first half consisted of plenty of action, as the Redblacks took a 24-17 lead into the break.

On the game's first play from scrimmage, Arbuckle tossed a lateral to wide receiver Ryan Davis, who then connected with Shaquille Johnson on a 45-yard catch-and-run play. Three plays later, that trickery led to the Redblacks opening the scoring on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Arbuckle to Mariner, who collected his first touchdown on his first reception in his CFL debut.

"It was a blessing and I thank my coaches for putting me in that position and thank my teammates for believing in me," Mariner said. "It was nice to score, but I'd trade that touchdown for a win."

On Ottawa's next possession, Arbuckle fumbled attempting to scramble and Alouettes defensive back Adarius Pickett scooped the ball up and scored on a 16-yard return to tie the game up at 7-7.

After a 35-yard touchdown catch from Tevaun Smith gave the Redblacks a 14-7 lead just over two minutes later, Côté hit a 23-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 with under four minutes remaining in the quarter.

On the first play of the second quarter, Ottawa QB Caleb Evans scored a one-yard rushing touchdown to boost his side's lead to 21-10. Just over eight minutes later, Montreal responded as Harris connected with running back Walter Fletcher on a 40-yard touchdown pass. The frame ended with a 41-yard field goal by Ward.

The Alouettes took their first lead of the game in the third quarter as they turned a 24-17 deficit into a 27-24 advantage.

Côté kicked off the scoring with a 45-yard field goal five minutes in before running back William Stanback ran it in for a three-yard touchdown with just under four minutes left in the quarter.

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