Als hold off late Riders comeback
By SPORTS NETWORK
|Montreal Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo makes a throw during his CFL match against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal, Sunday, September 16, 2012. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - Anthony Calvillo threw for 266 yards and a touchdown as the Montreal Alouettes held off a late comeback and earned a 28-17 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Percival Molson Stadium.
Brandon Whitaker caught four balls for 102 yards and rushed for 45 yards with a score for Montreal (7-4), which bounced back from last week's loss at British Columbia and won for the fifth time in its last six games.
Saskatchewan quarterback Drew Willy, making his first career CFL start, went 22-of-34 for 225 yards and a touchdown, but threw a pair of interceptions in defeat. The Roughriders (5-6) had a two-game win streak snapped.
Kory Sheets carried 12 times for 81 yards and caught the lone touchdown pass for Saskatchewan, while Weston Dressler hauled in six balls for 78 yards.
Sheets caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Willy early in the fourth quarter to pull Saskatchewan within 22-17, but Willy threw two interceptions from there and the Alouettes tacked on a pair of late field goals from Sean Whyte to seal it.
"He could have been better, but he did some positive things," Saskatchewan head coach Corey Chamblin said about Willy. "There were a couple of times our receivers didn't help him, but he's a young guy and he will grow."
After returning the opening kick to its own 36, Montreal struck quickly with a 3-yard Whitaker touchdown run. Whitaker touched the ball five times on the opening drive, recording 24 yards on the ground and 33 through the air.
Saskatchewan answered on its first possession with a 48-yard field goal by Sandro DeAngelis, but Montreal countered on its next drive with a 1-yard scoring run by Adrian McPherson.
With 10:12 to play in the second, Montreal appeared to be marching toward another score, but squandered the opportunity. After hooking up on a 62-yard pass with S.J. Green, Calvillo fumbled and gave the Roughriders the ball back at their own 26.
However, Saskatchewan gave the ball right back just two plays later when Taj Smith fumbled after catching a 6-yard pass from Willy.
Montreal took advantage of the good field position, adding a 43-yard single by Whyte to go up 15-3 with 7:39 left in the first half.
Although the Roughriders got three back on a 46-yard kick by DeAngelis with a little over four minutes left in the half, the defense couldn't hold Montreal off the board.
Two possessions later, Calvillo went 3-for-3 passing for 55 yards, leading to an 8-yard touchdown reception by Brian Bratton for a 22-6 cushion at the half.
The only scoring of the third quarter came on a pair of Saskatchewan safeties, as the Montreal offense struggled.
"It was two and out, two and out, but we couldn't move it in the third quarter because of the tight coverage," said Calvillo. "There were some mental errors on our side, and we let them get back in the game. Our defense kept us in the game because we should have put this team away."
A missed field-goal attempt by DeAngelis from the Montreal 36 turned into another big play for Whitaker, when he returned the miss out of the end zone for 33 yards.
Whitaker's next touch on Montreal's ensuing possession wasn't as good, however. After catching a 10-yard pass out of the backfield from Calvillo, Whitaker fumbled and the ball was recovered by Craig Butler at the Montreal 33.
Two plays later, Willy made the Alouettes pay for Whitaker's mistake, hitting Sheets for the 33-yard TD pass that made it a one-score game early in the fourth.
Whitaker went to the locker room with an apparent injury with a little over seven minutes left in the first half, but returned ... Montreal has won three of the last four meetings. The teams will play in Saskatchewan on Oct. 20.