MONTREAL -- Zach Collaros completed 30 of his 43 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, as the Argonauts overcame a 15-point third quarter deficit to down the Montreal Alouettes 37-30.
Collaros also impressed on the ground, rushing five times for 42 yards and another touchdown.
Sunday’s action marked the second game in as many weeks between the two East Division rivals, and the third of four meetings on the season.
Last week, the Als cruised to a 20-9 victory, with Shea Emry’s 38-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter proving to be the turning point.
Fast forward five days later and it was once again the Alouettes defence that came through with a big play, one that resulted in the game’s opening touchdown.
|Related: Argos vs. Als|
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» Images: TOR vs. MTL
» Video: Tisdale Scoops and Scores
» Video: Gainey's return sets up TD
» Video: Chiles' 54-yard TD Grab
» Video: Tripp Picks of Marsh for TD
» Video: Collaros Bolts for 21-yard Score
» Preview: Toronto at Montreal
On Toronto’s first possession of the afternoon, Montreal rush end John Bowman forced Argos receiver John Chiles to fumble. The ball was immediately scooped up by Geoff Tisdale, who returned it 47 yards to the endzone for a score.
The Argos offence looked to rebound and respond on their next drive, but an offsides call on Jason Barnes set them back an extra five yards, which gave QB Zach Collaros a steep hill to climb.
While Collaros did complete consecutive passes to Andre Durie for a combined gain of just under 15 yards, they weren’t able to move the chains and were forced to settle for a field goal attempt, which was missed by kicked Noel Prefontaine.
After the Als extended their lead to 11 thanks to a pair of field goals by Sean Whyte and another missed attempt by Prefontaine, the Argos defence took charge and swung momentum slightly back into their favour.
On 1st-and-10, Alouettes QB Tanner Marsh looked over the middle towards Arland Bruce, but saw his pass picked off by Marcus Ball who returned it nine yards to Montreal’s 36 yard line.
But whatever momentum the Boatmen gained on Ball’s interception was quickly sent back in Montreal’s direction, as the Als’ defence came up big once again.
Following an incomplete pass intended for Barnes, Collaros looked towards the endzone for Dontrelle Inman, but instead found Tisdale, who snagged the pass out of the air for his second interception of the season and first since Week 1.
However, Marsh and the Als offence were unable to take advantage of the timely play of their defence, and were forced to punt.
With less than five minutes to go in the first half, Collaros and the Argos offence finally found their rhythm.
First, the 25-year-old pivot connected with Inmaan for a 14-yard gain, and followed that up with four-straight completions to bring the Argos inside Montreal’s red zone for the first time of the game.
After Collaros found Inman again for a gain of six, his pass intended for Chiles in the endzone found nothing but the turf, forcing the Double Blue to send out the field goal unit once again.
Unlike his last two attempts, Prefontaine managed to split the uprights, cutting the Alouettes’ lead to 8 in the process.
However, with two seconds remaining in the half, the Als would restore their lead back to 11, as Whyte connected on a 32-yard field goal.
The first half saw both defences hold their own, with neither unit allowing any touchdowns through the first 30 minutes.
On Montreal’s sideline, it was Bowman who stole the show. In addition to his forced fumble that set up the half’s only touchdown, Bowman registered two sacks and three tackles.
With his two sacks, Bowman tied Anwar Stewart for first place on the Alouettes’ all-time sacks list with 66.
For the Argos, Ball’s interception may have been the biggest play of the half, but rookie Jermaine Gabriel seemed to be their biggest player, as the DB collected four tackles, in addition to his first-career QB takedown.
Once the second half got underway, the Argos wasted little time chipping into the Als’ 11 point lead.
Following a pair of unsuccessful drives by both clubs, Collaros completed consecutive passes to Inman and running back Jerious Norwood for gains of eight and nine yards, setting up a fresh set of downs from inside Montreal’s 30-yard line.
One play later, it looked as though the Argos would register the game’s first offensive touchdown, as Collaros appeared to find a diving Barnes in the endzone for six.
|Young Guns Duel|
However, despite the strong effort, Barnes wasn’t able to maintain full control of the ball, forcing the Argos to settle for another field goal – a 36-yarder by Prefontaine.
While the Als offence continued to have trouble finding their form, their defence and special teams unit was doing their best to keep them ahead of the suddenly surging Boatmen.
On a third-down punting situation, a bad snap to Prefontaine forced the veteran punter to scramble and fumble the ball, which was eventually recovered by Alouettes defensive back Ed Gainey who returned it 33 yards to the Argos 1-yard line.
One play later, Marsh punched it in for the score, extending his team’s lead to 15 in the process.
However, the Argos refused to go down without a fight.
On their ensuing possession following the Marsh score, Collaros stuck to his guns and hooked up with Spencer Watt for a 40-yard gain to give his offence a fresh set of downs at Montreal’s 21 yard line.
On the next play, Collaros opted to keep it himself and trotted 21 yards untouched for the Argos’ first offensive score of the game.
But the Boatmen weren’t done there.
With the Alouettes now on offence, Marsh was hit as he threw and saw his pass intercepted by Argos DT Kiante Tripp, who returned it 54 yards for the touchdown, bringing the Argos within just two of Montreal’s lead.
Collaros’ hot third quarter would continue on Toronto’s next possession, as he hooked up with Chiles for a 54-yard touchdown, giving the Argos a 28-23 lead.
Having lost all the momentum, the Als offence took to the field, looking to get themselves back in the game.
Thanks to Marsh, the Als were able to do just that.
The youngster proceeded to complete three-straight passes, the last of which found Duron Carter for a 45-yard touchdown, putting the Als back in front early on in the fourth quarter.
Toronto would pull even with the Als in the late stages of the fourth quarter thanks to a pair of rouges by Prefontaine. The first arrived as a result of a failed coffin-corner punt by the veteran, while the second was a result of his third missed field goal of the game.
Shortly after, the Boatmen would take the lead, as Collaros found Inman for a five-yard touchdown. The score capped off a 10-play, 70-yard drive by Collaros, one that saw him complete all four of his pass attempts.
However, with less than a minute to go in the game, Marsh took control of the Montreal offence, looking to orchestrate another game-winning touchdown drive at home.
But Marsh, who had led the Als inside Toronto's 20-yard line, threw an interception on third down, giving the Argos a 37-30 win.
Next week, the Als head West to take on the BC Lions in Vancouver, while the Argos travel to Regina to take on the Roughriders at Mosaic.