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Montreal Alouettes to start backup tandem of Antonio Pipkin, Jeremiah Johnson against Roughriders

MONTREAL — With the Montreal Alouettes missing their workhorse running back against streaking Saskatchewan, Jeremiah Johnson says he's ready to step into the kitchen.

"I feel like I'm going to try and go out there and serve a five course meal," Johnson, wearing a white chef's hat, said Thursday. "Finger food, entree, dinner, and we're going to finish it off with a nice dessert."

Montreal will start Johnson and quarterback Antonio Pipkin against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are on a three-game win streak, Friday night at Percival Molson Stadium.

They will replace quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., and running back William Stanback, who were both injured in last week's 30-27 overtime loss to the Ottawa Redblacks.

Johnson has been a secondary option for Stanback this season, but he's been a feature back before. His best seasons were with the B.C Lions during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns where he nearly rushed for 1,000 yards.

"It's time to go. Time to strap it up and go," the 32-year old Johnson said. "I welcome this stuff. My preparation is the same as if I'm playing, or if I'm down, or if I'm starting."

Added Alouettes head coach Khari Jones: "Jeremiah has been playing good football in the last couple of games. He's a smart guy back there as far as picking up blitzers, I don't think there's anyone better. We'll be fine with (Johnson) in there and this is the reason why we have him to be one of the best insurance policies for Will (Stanback)."

Johnson says he's no stranger to cooking, his best dish is baked chicken with special herbs. While he won't share his cooking secrets, the journeyman running back shared the recipe for an Alouettes' victory over the Riders.

"We got to convert second downs," Johnson said. "Keep it in second and short. Keep (Pipkin) on his feet. Keep his jersey clean. We know we have the guys in this locker room, in this offence, to do so."

Jones will also give the ball back to Pipkin for Friday's game. He began the season as the team's starter, but an ankle injury in the first game of the year sidelined him until last he returned to the active roster last week. Once Adams left the game due to a concussion, Pipkin was called in relief.

"I just kind of take these as they come to be honest," Pipkin said. "We just have that next-man up mindset and just be ready to when your number is called upon and be ready to produce."

When asked if a win on Friday could cement his place as the starting quarterback once more, Pipkin said: "That's above my pay grade."

"I just want to see him play well," Jones said. "I don't want to put too much on it and say this is a career thing or anything like that. You know what, just go out there, make the completions, and just play catch."


Friday, Percival Molson Stadium

CHANGE AT TACKLE: First year tackle Chris Schleuger will lineup at right tackle, shifting Sean Jamieson to right guard.

STAFF'S BACK: Receiver Kenny Stafford was traded from Edmonton to Saskatchewan Monday. The 29-year old has played 19 career games with the Alouettes through three stints with the team.

WINNING RECORDS: Both teams are 3-1 since July 4. The Alouettes had a three-game winning streak snapped last week, while the Riders will try to uphold their own Friday.