Alouettes 40 Stampeders 27
CALGARY — The Montreal Alouettes hope their win over Calgary in a soggy, mistake-filled Grey Cup rematch Wednesday marks the start of better results against West Division teams this season.
Damon Duval was a perfect 6-for-6 in field goals to tie his career record and Montreal beat the Stampeders 40-27 in the CFL season-opener for both clubs.
Avon Cobourne, Kerry Watkins and Chip Cox scored touchdowns for Montreal.
The Alouettes were 3-5 versus the West in 2008. Against Calgary, Montreal was 0-3 including a 22-14 loss in the Grey Cup. Five of Montreal’s first four opponents this season are Western clubs, so a victory in Calgary was a confidence booster for the Eastern power.
“The knock on us last year was every time we came out West, we weren’t going to get a victory,” Duval said. “It’s definitely a big start for our team.”
Jeremaine Copeland, quarterback Henry Burris and rookie Titus Ryan replied with touchdowns for Calgary in front of an announced sellout of 35,650 at McMahon Stadium, although many were chased from their seats by a downpour at the start of the second half. Kicker Sandro DeAngelis added a pair of field goals.
The Stampeders recovered from a horrendous opening quarter and a 17-0 deficit to pressure on the visitors, but a pair of turnovers late in the fourth quarter cost the Stamps their winning streak against Montreal.
Each side turned the ball over four times and there were of total of 19 penalties in the sloppy game.
“This game had so many series of events,” Montreal coach Marc Trestman said. “Both teams creating adversity for themselves and overcoming adversity.”
Montreal led 33-27 with six minutes remaining when Calgary quarterback Henry Burris threw into the arms of Mark Estelle in the end zone. The Calgary pivot then coughed up the ball under pressure from Montreal’s Anwar Stewart and Keron Williams and linebacker Chip Williams rumbled 81 yards for a touchdown at 12:45.
“They beat us three times in a row,” Estelle said. “It’s beautiful to win this first game and start it off right”.
Burris, the Grey Cup MVP, completed less than half his passes with 17 completions on 33 attempts. He threw for 247 yards, including one touchdown pass. Burris was also sacked three times.
“If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is,” Burris said. “I know this team well. We’ll be fine. We didn’t go undefeated last year. It’s always good to have one of these early on just so you can get things corrected.”
Montreal counterpart Anthony Calvillo had a slightly better night at 24-for-32 for 255 yards, but he also threw just one touchdown pass and one interception.
“To come on the road against an excellent opponent, we’re excited about this win,” Calvillo said. “They’re the defending champs and we came here and got two points.”
Duval was good from 13, 15, 32, 36, 37 and 48 yards.
Towering Stamps cornerback Brandon Browner deflected a Calvillo pass into the hands of teammate Milton Collins in the third quarter. But Calgary settled for a 41-yard field goal from DeAngelis to tie the game at 27 at 10:54.
Montreal’s Jamel Richardson fumbled on Calgary’s 20-yard line early in the second half. Burris capitalized with a four-yard scoring run and DeAngelis’s convert pulled Calgary within three points at 3:40.
The defending champions clawed their way back into what was becoming a lopsided game with a pair touchdowns in the second quarter. DeAngelis added three points from 34 yards out.
Burris on the run got a four-yard pass away to Copeland in the end zone at 5:41. Ryan revived Calgary with a 104-yard kickoff return to score at 2:10 for the rookie’s first CFL touchdown in his first game. It was the first time a Stampeder scored off a kickoff since Sept. 8, 2006.
But it was all Montreal in the opening quarter as Calgary managed only 23 yards of offence to Montreal’s 109.