Defence shuts down Anthony Calvillo and Montreal offence
The Calgary Stampeders opened the 2012 Canadian Football League season in style on Sunday, defeating the Montreal Alouettes 38-10 at McMahon Stadium.
It’s the fifth time in the past seven seasons the Stampeders have won their first game of the season. It’s the most points Calgary has scored in a season-opener since the Red and White put 44 on the board in 2000.
The victory completes an opening week of CFL action that saw the four West Division teams record wins over East opponents.
It was a conspicuous debut for rookie Stamps defensive back Keenan MacDougall as he recovered a fumble and returned it 63 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
Drew Tate threw for 299 yards, Nik Lewis had a career-high 12 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown and Jon Cornish ran for 86 yards and two majors as the Stamps recorded 465 total yards.
The Calgary defence, meanwhile, held Montreal to 11 first downs, 39 rushing yards and 213 total yards. Quincy Butler and Brandon Smith had interceptions for the Stamps.
“Our defence played well today,” said Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel. “They were flying around and making some plays. They gave up the one play though (Brian Bratton’s 37-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter) but for the most part, they controlled the running game and made it a little difficult for (Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo).”
Hufnagel knows there is still some work to do.
“I like what we did as a football team,” he said. “The two things I didn’t like is the amount of penalties we had (nine infractions for 75 yards) especially on special teams in the first half and also the number of turnovers we had (four). We’ve got to clean both of those things up.
“Offensively, Drew did some good things and, again, he’s a young quarterback who’s learning on the fly. He got us a win, so that’s what counts.”
The Stamps also had a nice night on special teams as Rene Paredes was three-for-three on field goals, Rob Maver averaged 48.8 yards on four punts and Larry Taylor amassed 132 yards on kickoff and punt returns.
After a 38-yard field goal by Paredes opened the scoring, the Stamps picked up a defensive touchdown. Juwan Simpson forced Alouettes receiver Jamel Richardson to fumble the ball, allowing MacDougall scoop and score.
Still in the first quarter, Cornish’s four-yard rushing major made the score 17-0. Maver’s 63-yard punt single capped the opening-period scoring.
Montreal got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter thanks to Bratton’s touchdown but the Stamps answered right back as Cornish found the end-zone again, this time on a three-yard carry.
Sean Whyte’s 31-yard field goal and Paredes’ 22-yarder rounded out the scoring before halftime as the Stamps took a 28-10 lead into the locker-room.
Calgary expanded its advantage in the third quarter thanks to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tate to Lewis.
Paredes’ 32-yard field goal was the only fourth-quarter scoring. Rookie Stampeders running back Matt Walter appeared to score a touchdown in the final minute but the major was negated when replay officials determined he was down before crossing the goal-line.
The Stamps take the road for their next contest as Calgary will face the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday at Rogers Centre.