MONTREAL – The Toronto Argonauts have become the road warriors of the Canadian Football League.
Trevor Harris threw touchdown passes to Diontae Spencer and Tori Gurley as the Argonauts stretched their winning run to three games, all away from home, with a 25-17 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Monday afternoon.
Their win in Ottawa last week was supposed to have been a home game, but they were forced out of the Rogers Centre by the Blue Jays playoff run. Their next game, Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders, may be moved to Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton.
“Of course, we’d much rather be in the dome than playing at Tim Horton’s, but that’s what it us.,” said coach Scott Milanovich, whose team is 5-4 away from the Rogers Centre. “That’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we’re going to play to win.”
Brandon Whitaker ran in a touchdown and Justin Palardy kicked a field goal for Toronto (9-5), now tied with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats atop the East Division.
Milanovic feels his team cannot lose more than one of their four remaining regular-season games to take first place in the division and may even have to run the table because the Ticats have the edge in the season series between them.
Tyrell Sutton and B.J. Cunningham scored TDs and Boris Bede had a field goal for Montreal (5-9), which lost a third game in a row before 21,536 at Percival Molson Stadium.
The Alouettes lost yet another quarterback as Rakeem Cato suffered a suspected concussion on a Thomas Miles sack just ahead of halftime and did not return. That brought in Anthony Boone, the sixth QB they have used this season.
When Boone couldn’t move the ball, Tanner Marsh took over in the fourth quarter.
Coach Jim Popp wasn’t sure yet which quarterback will start Sunday at home against Hamilton.
He said Boone and Marsh “will get all the reps in practice, a lot more than they had this week. For them to come in and play was difficult.”
Cato was good on nine of 12 passes for 72 yards and had a 9-7 lead when he left the game. Boone was 6-for-12 with an interception and Marsh was 9-for-14 for 119 yards, a touchdown and a pick.
Harris, who went 16-for-21 for 182 yards, 2 TDs and an interception, led scoring drives when Toronto needed them.
The Argos marched 70 yards on four plays to score on the opening drive of the game, with Spencer hauling in a 20-yard TD pass at 1:49.
Momentum swung on the opening play of the second quarter when Henoc Muamba, playing his first game since signing as a free agent, picked off a Harris pass and brought it to the Toronto 32. Bede kicked a 25-yard field goal.
A shanked Anthony Alix punt gave Montreal the ball on the Argos 21 and, five plays later, Sutton ran in from the three to put the Alouettes ahead 9-7.
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah picked off a Boone pass and ran it 63 yards to the Montreal 41 to set up Palardy’s 36-yard field goal 14:17 into the third quarter.
A 55-yard single on a Bede punt tied it 10-10 5:41 into the fourth, but Harris marched back for a 27-yard TD pass to Gurley.
Marsh fumbled, then was picked off, leading to a Toronto single and Whitaker’s nine-yard TD run with 2:14 left in the game.
Montreal made it interesting as a drive led to a 10-yard TD pass from Marsh to Cunningham at 14:06 and Kyries Hebert recovered the short kickoff to give them a last-minute drive that fell short.
Alix, who muffed three punts, left with an injury and Milanovich said there will be a new punter next game. Palardy went 1-for-3 on field goals on a poor Argos kicking day overall.