REGINA – The Montreal Alouettes fell victim to three majors in the third quarter and the Saskatchewan Roughriders took the opportunity to take revenge 41-20 on Saturday at Mosaic Stadium.
Like the activities organized during the Canada Day weekend in Regina, the spirits were high for the Riders (3-1) who avenged the 37-13 defeat at the hands of the Alouettes (1-3) the previous week, at Percival- Molson Stadium.
The Alouettes retired to the locker room with a 13-11 lead in the first half, before collapsing in the second half of the match.
Alouettes manager Khari Jones made a questionable choice to start the second half which ultimately had a big impact on the outcome of the match. Jones decided that his players would kick the ball to get the wind in his favor for the fourth quarter.
Drivers’ quarterback Cody Fajardo felt humbled by the decision.
“We felt they lacked a bit of respect in our attack because they kicked again. We took it personally and this motivated us (the offensive) for the future. He allowed us to start a sequence and we paraded on the ground. The points scored gave us the pace, “said Fajardo.
Fajardo spent a night of 224 yards in the air when 18 of 29 passes were made. In addition to scoring a major himself, he launched two touchdown passes.
“We played very simply in attack. (…) The key was to play quickly and easily. We executed the plan well, “added Fajardo.
The Alouettes’ attack was limited to a single touchdown. The other major came from special teams via Chandler Worthy, who returned a punt for 84 yards.
Worthy became the first player to score a touchdown on a return kick in two consecutive games in 69 years since playing the same shot for the Riders last week.
Alouettes quarterback Trevor Harris, who started for the second straight game – at the expense of Vernon Adams Jr. – completed 18 of the 26 passes attempted for 198 yards in the air.
He made no touchdown passes and saw two of his passes intercepted.
Adams completed one of three passes attempted in relief for 30 yards in the air. He has been the victim of a lot.
Jones’s men lost a key gear in the third quarter when Mickael Wakefield was disqualified for two misconduct penalties on the same streak.
The Alouettes will now enjoy their first week out of season. The club will be back on the pitch on 14 July at home to the Edmonton Elks.
A two-stage duel
From their first possession, the Alouettes went to the door of the Roughriders’ end zone, notably thanks to a 27-yard pass from Harris to Hergy Mayala.
Harris, however, suffered a layoff from Anthony Lanier Jr. in the second down and the Alouettes are folded on David Côté to score the three points.
Fajardo and the Roughriders responded to the next possession. The American quarterback combined his efforts with those of Tevin Jones over a 40-yard streak to set the table for the game’s first major.
Fajardo then spotted Mitchell Picton from eight yards and the hosts took a 7-3 lead.
Reflecting an explosive start to the game, returning Alouettes player Worthy used his speed to outflank the Roughriders players and make their way up the field. Eventually he ran 84 yards and took the middle finger. After the transformation the score was 10-7 and the drivers’ advantage lasted only for a few moments.
The second quarter, on the other hand, was less sparkling than the first. The Riders’ Brett Lauther scored a point after missing his field goal from 48 yards, but came within 57 yards with nearly a minute left in the quarter.
Côté scored his second field goal of the match just before Lauther’s success and the Alouettes retired to the locker room with a 13-11 lead.
“One of the things we talked about at half time was to play as you are capable and we’ll see what the sign will be in the end. (…) I faced them in the interval: ‘Show me your strength of character in the second half and, whatever the result, leave everything on the pitch’. They came out and did a great job, ”said Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson.
On the first possession in the second half, the Drivers took control of the game. Jamal Morrow scored the touchdown on a 12-yard run. The Saskatchewan club, on the other hand, missed the conversion by two points.
The Riders returned minutes later, with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter, Fajardo completed the job and was credited with a one-yard touchdown. This time around, the Riders nailed the two-point conversion and scored 25-13.
Continuing their good run, the Riders scored another touchdown on Fajaro’s pass to Kian Schaffer-Baker. The latter bypassed the sidelines for 44 yards and gave his team a 32-13 lead.
With less than ten minutes left in the game, a 3-yard run by Walter Fletcher _ and the conversion that followed _ brought the Alouettes 12 points behind the locals in a losing case.
While the Alouettes were doing what they could, Harris saw one of his passes being intercepted by Nick Marshall, who then rolled the ball 90 yards to score the middle finger. The Riders nailed the conversion in two places.
This interception marked the end of the game for Harris and the entry into play for Adams.
Worthy escapes and puts the ALS ahead!
Schaffer-Baker widens the gap in favor of the drivers
Nick Marshall joins Als’s bad game