The Montreal Alouettes’ championship drought is over! Montreal claimed its first Grey Cup since 2010 in a 28-24 victory over the favoured Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Hamilton on Sunday night.
Cody Fajardo threw three touchdowns, including the game winner to Tyson Philpot with 13 seconds left, as the Alouettes rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit, outscoring Winnipeg 21-7 in the final 30 minutes of the Canadian Football League‘s title game.
Fajardo was named the Most Valuable Player of the Grey Cup and Philpot was voted the Top Canadian.
The Bombers’ opening drive soaked up 6:28 off the clock and resulted in a 25-yard field goal by Sergio Castillo. The drive covered 48 yards in nine plays.
After Montreal went two and out on their first drive of the game, the Bombers responded with an eight-play, 66-yard drive that culminated with a five-yard touchdown run by 2023 Most Outstanding Canadian Brady Oliveira to give Winnipeg a 10-0 advantage.
Montreal got on the board when running back William Stanback rumbled into the endzone for a 32-yard score to trim Winnipeg’s lead to 10-7 with five seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Oliveira fumbled on the Montreal 20-yard line 4:24 into the second quarter when Kabion Ento knocked the ball out of the running back’s hands and Ciante Evans jumped on it for the first turnover of the contest. But the Alouettes could not capitalize and punted it back to Winnipeg six plays later.
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The Blue Bombers created a turnover of their own with 5:22 left in the first half when Brandon Alexander forced Alouettes kick returner James Lechter to fumble the ball and Mike Benson recovered it at the Montreal 29.
Five plays later, Winnipeg backup QB Dakota Prukop scored a one-yard touchdown to put the Bombers ahead 17-7 with 2:52 left in the half.
Winnipeg forced their second turnover of the quarter when their defence stuffed Montreal backup QB Caleb Evans twice from the one-yard line in the dying seconds of the half.
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The Alouettes opened the second half with a bang, going 60 yards in three plays, highlighted by Fajardo’s 23-yard TD pass to Cole Spieker to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 17-14.
Ento made his second big play of the game with 7:21 to go in the third quarter when he intercepted Zach Collaros deep in the corner of the endzone. While the Montreal defence prevented the Bombers from adding to their lead, the Al’s offence could not convert the turnover into points and eventually punted the ball deep into Bombers territory.
Fajardo’s first pass of the fourth quarter was a deep shot downfield that was picked off by Winnipeg halfback Evan Holm at the Bombers’ 21-yard line. But Winnipeg went two and out and Jamieson Sheahan’s punt was returned by Philpot to the Bombers 28.
Three plays later Montreal took its first lead of the game, 21-17, when Fajardo tossed a 13-yard touchdown to Austin Mack.
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The Blue Bombers reclaimed a three-point lead with an impressive drive that culminated with a four-yard touchdown run by Prukop to cap a nine-play, 54-yard drive that took 5:17 off the clock.
With under a minute to play in the game, Fajardo heaved a pass downfield that was caught by Spieker for a 31-yard gain at the Winnipeg 19. On the next play, Fajardo fired a 19-yard touchdown to Philpot for the game-winning score with 13 seconds left.
Next year’s Grey Cup championship game will be played at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver.
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