Als focus on penalties

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:35 AM ET

The numbers were one-sided, including the most important one that is always visible on the scoreboard.

Despite the 41-10 score and the fact that Montreal had possession of the pigskin for nearly 38 minutes, the 13 penalties for 130 yards were an eye-sore, a reminder that plenty of work awaits an Alouettes team that has once again established itself as the elite in the CFL’s East.

“If we want to be a great defence, if we want to be a great team, we have to play an entire 60 minutes and avoid things such as costly penalties,” defensive stalwart Anwar Stewart said as the Als rolled into town Friday for Saturday’s slugfest against the host Argos.

Montreal’s season began in Regina, where a Grey Cup rematch featured the defending champs coughing up a 21-point lead before losing in an overtime thriller.

When they pasted the Argos two weeks ago, the Als limited the visitors to 19 second-half plays, holding Toronto to 92 net yards and zero points in the game’s final 30 minutes.

But the 13 penalties stood out like a sore thumb.

In Saturday’s rematch, Stewart knows his Als must exercise better self-restraint, must stop Cory Boyd on first down and create passing situations that allow Montreal’s defence to attack Cleo Lemon.

Boyd, who leads the league in rushing and is coming off a three-touchdown performance, rushed nine times two weeks ago for 53 yards.

“He’s awesome,’’ Stewart said. “He’s a hard runner who lowers his shoulder. He runs over guys, almost like a Walter Payton. It takes more than one person to take him down and we’ve got to put as many hats on him as possible.

Boyd’s counterpart with the Alouettes, Avon Cobourne, was equally effusive about the Argos sensation.

“He’s hungry when he runs with the ball and I like that,’’ Cobourne, who had in excess of 100 yards rushing and receiving against the Argos, said.

“He’s not just a runner. There’s a lot to his game and I appreciate that. The difference is that I play for the Alouettes and he doesn’t. I don’t have to play against our defence.”


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