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MONTREAL – After the Montreal Alouettes scored 17 unanswered points in the second half, the Toronto Argonauts had work to do in a game they once led by 10.
Scoring 10 points in the final three minutes of the game, they did just enough to secure victory and go 11-1, their best start in franchise history.
Chad Kelly threw for 275 yards and a touchdown in the 23-20 win while AJ Ouellette rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown and Tommy Nield led all receivers with 82 yards.
The Argos came out strong defensively to start as Wynton McManis recorded an early sack, the team’s 38th on the season, to stop the Als from getting anything done offensively on their first drive.
Montreal got their turn at sacking a quarterback as they forced an Argos third-and-19 after a Tyrice Beverette sack, the first sack Toronto has allowed in almost 250 minutes of gameplay, as Montreal got the ball back.
Montreal’s biggest play of the first have came as Austin Mack caught a reception for 11 yard before being tackled just before midfield, sparking an offensive drive that led to an Als field goal for 33 yards from David Cote.
The Argos responded immediately as Ouellette rushed downfield 27 yards, followed by two consecutive receptions for 18 yards and another two eight yards to Nield, landing at the Montreal two-yard line.
Ouellette rushed down the middle for Toronto’s 21st rushing touchdown this season, best in the CFL by seven scores, scoring 107 points in first quarters this season.
Boris bede nailed back-to back field goals to give Toronto a 10-point lead, first a 47-yard field goal to close out the quarter followed by a 16-yard field goal to open the third quarter, but the momentum swung towards Montreal as Fajardo found Philpot and Tyler Snead to get downfield before Caleb Evans took the ball in for Montreal’s first score on the ground.
After forcing a two-and-out from Toronto, Cote hit a 16-yard field goal to tie the game for Montreal, and started off the fourth quarter moving downfield quickly, scoring in less than three minutes as Fajardo found Philpot for 14 yards and a touchdown to mark 17 unanswered points for the home town.
An unnecessary roughness penalty stopped a Toronto touchdown with just over two minutes to play, but after they forced a punt from Montreal and got the ball back, Kelly found Damonte Coxie for 41 yards to tie the game with a touchdown.
Jamal Peters intercepted Cody Fajardo with just over a minute to play, returning the ball for 42 yards, and Ouellette rushed for nine yards on two drives, enough to put Bede in field goal position for a 38-yard kick to go ahead by three.
One last chance attempt from Cote and the Als from 45 yards did not make it through the uprights as Toronto blocked the kick and the Argos claimed victory against a division rival.
Montreal will head to Calgary to face off against the Calgary Stampeders in Week 16 action at McMahon Stadium at 4:00 p.m. on Sept. 23, while the Argos head home to host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at BMO Field.