Calgary holds on to defeat Montreal
By WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency
|Calgary Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate. MARIE-CLAUDE FOREST/QMI AGENCY
MONTREAL - For the Calgary Stampeders, the storyline of this season has been turnover.
If they didn't escape with a victory Sunday afternoon at Molson Percival Stadium, the story would've been turnovers.
Instead, the Stamps showed remarkable resiliency, registering a 32-27 win over the two-time defending champion Montreal Alouettes despite four turnovers.
Running back Jon Cornish and Johnny Forzani each had two majors for the Stamps, while the defence allowed only three offensive touchdowns — Montreal also scored on a fake punt — in one of their finest performances of the season.
With the win, the Stamps (10-7) move into a three-way tie atop the CFL's West Division standings, although they still need some assistance to leapfrog the B.C. Lions and Edmonton Eskimos.
The Alouettes, meanwhile, gas an opportunity to take sole possession of top spot in the East Division, making it five teams with 10-7 records heading into the final week of what's been an exciting campaign in the three-down football ranks.
Sunday's matinee at Molson Percival Stadium certainly didn't lack excitement, although the Stamps might have provided more than they wanted to.
Their tally of four turnovers included two picks by Tate and fumbles by quarterback Henry Burris and running back Joffrey Reynolds, two guys that lost their starting jobs earlier this season.
Burris bobbled a snap from centre Tim O'Neill on a short-yardage attempt in the second half that was initially ruled a first down, but the Alouettes challenged and were awarded the football after a lengthy review. Although Montreal's offence didn't make much out of it, the fumble spoiled what could've been a scoring drive for the out-of-towners.
On the Stamps' next possession, Tate targeted Reynolds on a would-be first down, but the backup running back couldn't keep his grip on the pigskin after absorbing a hit from safety Marc-Olivier Brouilette. Alouettes defensive back Greg Laybourn scooped up the fumble and returned it 60 yards to the Stamps' two-yard line, then retreated to the sidelines to watch fleet-footed quarterback Adrian McPherson finish it off on a sneak.
Despite serving up two interceptions in the second half, Tate helped ensure that the fumbles didn't cost the Stamps the football game with a couple of spirited marches after the break.
Perhaps his most impressive pass was a 18-yard touchdown strike to Forzani early in the fourth quarter, and credit the sophomore receiver for keeping his feet in bounds despite good coverage by Alouettes cornerback Seth Williams.
Calgary's defence did their part with several key stops, only allowing seven points off turnovers and producing a fumble recovery of their own.
Alouettes pivot Anthony Calvillo hooked up with Eric Deslauriers for a 31-yard touchdown with only two minutes to go, but defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks tripped up Calvillo on the attempted two-point conversion to preserve the lead.
Then, with the Alouettes threatening to score in the final seconds, cornerback Johnnie Dixon knocked down a pass in the endzone to force a turnover-on-downs.
Running back Brandon Whitaker also scored for the Alouettes, while Marc-Olivier Brouillette took a direct snap on a fake punt and rumbled 73 yards for his first touchdown.
Rene Paredes booted a 41-yard field with a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, while Burke Dales had a first-half punt single for the Stamps to round out the scoring.