Blue defence saves day

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Fire open those Ticketmaster windows, because Turtle Man's Touchdown Tour is coming back to Manitoba.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback Milt Stegall failed to score his CFL record-breaking 138th touchdown for the third straight time last night, but he still went to bed happy because the Blue and Gold downed the Montreal Alouettes 20-18 at Molson Stadium.

The Bombers moved into first place in the East Division at 2-1-1, while the Alouettes fell to 1-3.

"I don't think anybody wants me to get (the record). They're sending defensive ends and everybody at me," Stegall said with a laugh in a jubilant Bombers locker-room. "You know I'll eventually get it, but the big thing was we got this victory."

Stegall's fourth straight attempt to break Mike Pringle's and George Reed's record will happen next Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium, where the Bombers will host the hapless Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Stegall, who wouldn't talk about the record this week, failed to set the magical mark in two consecutive home games earlier this month, but both contests were played before sellout crowds of 29,533 spectators.

Expect the same this Friday night, even though the Tiger-Cats are traditionally a poor draw in the 'Peg.

Stegall got what he really wanted last night -- the victory -- and the Bomber defence kept the team in the game long enough for the offence to wake up and do just that.

The offence had done absolutely nothing through three quarters, but it showed up on the first play of the fourth quarter when quarterback Kevin Glenn found a streaking Terrence Edwards on a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown to give the visitors at 13-12 lead.

The big play, however, came on Montreal's next possession. Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo marched his team all the way down to Winnipeg's two-yard line, and after two failed attempts they went for it on third-and goal from the one.

Tailback Robert Edwards got the ball, but Bombers middle linebacker Barrin Simpson popped him on the one to force the crucial turnover with 9:27 remaining.

"On first down the defensive line came up big. On second down the defensive line came up big," Simpson said. "On third down it was my turn, so I just came up and smacked him. I wanted to make the hit and give no ground."

"That was a momentum changer," Bombers head coach Doug Berry said. "I can't say it any other way."

The Winnipeg offence proceeded to calmly stroll 109 yards on a drive that ended with tailback Charles Roberts breaking three tackles on a 16-yard touchdown jaunt -- his sixth of the season -- that put the Bombers up 20-12 with 5:09 to play.

Not to be outdone, though, Calvillo responded without blinking. He guided the Als down the field and then found Ashlan Davis on a 30-yard touchdown strike with 1:46 left that made it 20-18 for the Bombers.

Defensive end Tom Canada sacked any Montreal hopes of a tie ball game, however, by sacking Calvillo on the two-point convert attempt.

Despite the defensive show for the first three quarters, Canada said the Bomber offence deserves plenty of credit for the gutsy triumph.

"At the end when it counted, it was totally a team effort," Canada said. "That drive started on the one-yard line, and they drove 109 yards down the field. That's what we needed, when it counted.

"... I have not won a whole lot of times here, and it's definitely nice to be able to go out tonight and celebrate rather than drowning my sorrows."

Glenn completed 21 of 24 attempts for 258 yards and the Edwards touchdown, while Calvillo was good on 33 of 38 attempts for 354 yards and the Davis score.


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