Tom Higgins put the ball in a rookie's hands, then the Calgary Stampeders quarterback promptly handed it over to the Montreal Alouettes.
Danny Wimprine, in his first professional start, threw three interceptions and fumbled once as the Stamps lost 32-11 to the Montreal Alouettes last night in front of 28,304 fans at McMahon Stadium.
Calgary drops to 7-7 on the season but the defeat was overshadowed by the loss of running back Joffrey Reynolds, who left with a knee injury after getting 133 yards on 10 carries in the first half.
Higgins, the Stampeders' head coach, said losing Reynolds and having a rookie quarterback were too much to overcome.
"It's tough to win with young quarterbacks. It's proven in the CFL," said Higgins, who started a rookie for this third straight game but first loss.
"We were able to pull a couple of them out (with wins over Hamilton and Ottawa).
"If we would have won, it would have been a heroic effort. We thought we could run the football and take some pressure off. That should have allowed us to get some time to get established and he couldn't get into a rhythm."
The Alouettes improved to 7-6, a game back of the first-place Toronto Argonauts in the race for the East Division title.
Wimprine finished 7-of-20 passing for 92 yards and was pulled late for fellow freshman Josh Harris, who put the team in position for a late 42-yard Sandro DeAngelis field goal.
In the opening half, Wimprine leaned heavily on Reynolds as the running back broke a 46-yard scamper up the middle to set up an easy nine-yard touchdown pass to Nik Lewis.
But Reynolds was injured on a 24-yard run in the second quarter after getting hit by Alouettes safety Richard Karikari.
Reynolds returned for a couple more plays but didn't come out of the locker-room at halftime.
Calgary committed six turnovers and Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo took advantage of four of them, hitting Kerry Watkins and Terry Vaughn on TD passes and running for another after the Stamps handed him short fields.
Montreal running back Eric Lapointe, who was starting in place of the injured Robert Edwards, also scored on a three-yard plunge.
Wimprine's first series as a starter basically told the story of his game. After his first pass was knocked down, the Memphis product put the ball on the turf to set up a Montreal 28-yard field goal from Damon Duval.
"That was a terrible start," Higgins said.
"The worst-case scenario is to have two and out and punt the football.
"We put our defence in a terrible position. The other one that was disappointing was when we put the ball in the score zone and he threw up an interception.
"It becomes nothing when we have a field-goal kicker who can get three points.
"It's disappointing because we had such high expectations for him."
Wimprine would later throw two interceptions to Karikari and one to Darrel Crutchfield before getting the hook.
"I didn't make plays and started to press too much," Wimprine said. "I should have stuck to my reads."
Calgary's defence came up big several times in the game, none more important than standing up Mike Vilimek on a goalline stand in the third quarter to keep the deficit at 10.
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MONTREAL ALOUETTES: 32
CALGARY STAMPEDERS: 11