CFL: After downing rival, Stampeders take on unbeaten Alouettes

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The Montreal Alouettes are presently the gold standard in the Canadian Football League.

Winners of 12 straight games dating back to Sept. 15, 2023, Montreal is off to a 4-0 start and atop the East as it starts a three-game homestand Saturday night against Calgary.

Three of the team’s four wins this year have been on the road, including a 30-20 decision on June 28 in Toronto that wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggests. The Argonauts’ only touchdown came in garbage time after the Alouettes led 30-12.

And there is room for Montreal to improve. Its running game contributed next to nothing in Toronto, managing only 25 yards, but quarterback Cody Fajardo took up slack by completing 33 of 41 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown.

“It was a gritty win by our group,” Fajardo said. “We were challenged in all three phases but we found a way to put them away towards the end. I just love this team. We just find ways to win games.”

The Alouettes’ defense, which carried most of the load last year down the stretch as they won the Grey Cup, is permitting just more than 18 ppg.

Meanwhile, Calgary (2-1) is coming off a 22-19 overtime win June 29 at home against Winnipeg. After Demerio Houston notched an interception on the Blue Bombers’ OT possession, Rene Paredes connected on a game-winning 52-yard field goal.

While Winnipeg is off to an 0-4 start after years of dominating the West, Stampeders players and coaches celebrated the outcome.

“It just feels good to be on the other end of a game like that,” Calgary coach Dave Dickenson said. “It’s just every game with them is field goals and a mistake or two changes the tide. … You need to be rewarded sometimes and I think we earned it.”

Quarterback Jake Maier completed 28 of 43 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His top target was Marken Michel, who came up with nine catches for 75 yards and a fourth-quarter score.

Houston (ankle) and defensive lineman Elliot Graham (hamstring) have been ruled out for Calgary this weekend. The Alouettes ruled out five players, including defensive backs Arthur Hamlin (ankle), Wesley Sutton (back) and Cre’Von Leblanc (hamstring).

–Field Level Media

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