July 18, 2009

Alouettes stand alone atop the CFL


REGINA — Anthony Calvillo’s two touchdown passes put him in some distinguished company Saturday.

Calvillo’s passes moved him into a second-place tie on the all-time list as the Montreal Alouettes dismantled the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders 43-10 to remain the CFL’s lone unbeaten team.

The two TD strikes boosted Calvillo’s career total to 333, leaving him tied with the late Ron Lancaster, who died last year and played for Saskatchewan for the vast majority of his career. Damon Allen, who retired following the 2007 campaign after 23 CFL seasons, leads the way with 394 touchdown tosses.

Calvillo finished the 24-of-34 passing for 281 yards and the two touchdowns.

After taking a 14-8 half-time lead, Montreal (3-0) broke the game open in the second half, outscoring Saskatchewan (2-1) by a 29-2 margin.

Calvillo threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Kerry Watkins at 3:52 of the third quarter before Avon Cobourne cemented the victory with a seven-yard TD run at 8:55 that put Montreal ahead 29-8.

Cobourne, who rushed for 145 yards and two TDs, became the first running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Riders this season.

“It wasn’t me. It was my teammates,” said Cobourne. “I think I do have the best O-line in the league and they make it easy for me.”

The four-year veteran played a large role in the Alouettes’ second-half rebound. His work on getting the ground game going helped Montreal sustain long drives. The Als, who lost three fumbles in the first half, also stopped turning the ball over to ease the pressure on the defence, which had a solid performance.

“Our defence is ridiculous. I mean, number one in the league,” said Cobourne. “The way we ended last year, they just stayed on a roll. Six turnovers. Countless two and outs. They pretty much kept the offence in the game because we started off way too slow.”

Saskatchewan managed just 149 yards of offence behind starting quarterback Darian Durant, who was pulled midway through the fourth quarter for Steven Jyles, and scored all of their eight first-half points off three Montreal turnovers.

The Roughriders proved to be their own worst enemy with six turnovers, including four in the first half.

“They’re a great defence and they kind of took away some things we wanted to do, but at the same time we hurt ourselves,” said Durant, who finished 10-of-20 passing for 112 yards and an interception. “We beat ourselves today.”

Ben Cahoon had a team-high seven catches for 86 yards for Montreal, including a stellar grab between two Saskatchewan defenders. Andy Fantuz led the Riders with four catches for 60 yards for the Riders.

Kerry Carter had Montreal’s other touchdown. Damon Duval had four field goals, four converts and three singles.

“We had a problem with giving up penalties,” said Riders head coach Ken Miller. “We take a lot of pride in ball security. We didn’t do that today. We take a lot of pride in not giving up big plays and making some ourselves and that ratio. We made some big plays but we gave up some big plays as well.

“On the other hand, I want to give credit to (Montreal) because they played well and when it counted they were able to score points.”

Wes Cates scored Saskatchewan’s lone touchdown. Luca Congi booted the convert while Jamie Boreham added a single. The other points came on a fourth-quarter safety.

Cates finished with just 34 yards rushing on nine carries in his season debut for Saskatchewan.