By Herb Zurkowsky
MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes might not be as dominant as a year ago, when they captured their second consecutive Grey Cup, but they showed on Sunday afternoon that there’s still some fight left in the old dog.
Montreal gained a measure of revenge against Hamilton, producing a convincing and one-sided 43-13 victory over the Tiger-Cats before 24,304 spectators at Molson Stadium.
The win, the first by the Als against the Ticats in three games this season, came five days after Montreal was humbled 44-21 at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
It was the most points produced by the Als this season, surpassing the 40 they scored on July 15 against Toronto.
The Als improved to 6-4, averted a three-game losing streak for the first time since 2008 and moved into sole possession of second place in the East Division, two points ahead of Hamilton (5-5). The Ticats, meanwhile, now haven’t won at McGill University since Oct. 20, 2002.
On Labour Day, the Als failed to produce an offensive touchdown. In Sunday’s game, they denied the visitors any touchdowns, period, the defence displaying its pride and tenacity in the process. By the fourth quarter, Hamilton had replaced starting quarterback Kevin Glenn with Quinton Porter.
The Als jumped to a 29-1 lead through 25 minutes of the opening half.
Anthony Calvillo passed 15 yards to Brandon London for Montreal’s opening touchdown at 10:47 of the first quarter. It was London’s first score this season.
The Als capped a seven-play, 68-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to tailback Brandon Whitaker at 21 seconds of the second quarter.
Calvillo then passed nine yards to Kerry Watkins for a touchdown at 4:57. Watkins, who didn’t make his season debut until late July after undergoing sinus surgery to remove his adenoids, also found the end-zone for the first time this season.
Calvillo’s fourth touchdown pass was a 15-yarder to Jamel Richardson at 10:13, capping a six-play, 75-yard drive.
The Als’ offence wasn’t as impressive over the final 30 minutes — not that an abundance of scoring was required by that point.
Montreal’s only touchdown of the second half came following an impressive nine-play, 96-yard drive, culminating in a one-yard run by Dahrran Diedrick at 5:26 of the fourth quarter. Diedrick, coincidentally, was stopped from the same spot last Monday at Hamilton on a third-down gamble just before halftime.
Sean Whyte added a pair of field goals for Montreal, from 16 and 30 yards. He missed from 37 yards early in the game for a single, adding another point on a 66-yard punt.
Calvillo passed for 426 yards, completing 32 of 46 attempts, before being replaced in the fourth quarter by Adrian McPherson.
Justin Medlock kicked four field goals for Hamilton, including a 57-yarder late in the second quarter, tying a team record held by Bernie Ruoff and Paul Osbaldiston. The Canadian Football League record for longest field goal is 62 yards, held by Saskatchewan’s Paul McCallum, in 2001.
The Tiger-Cats will host the Edmonton Eskimos in Week 12 action Friday.
The Als, who lost defensive back Dwight Anderson in the second half to a muscle strain, entertain division-leading Winnipeg next Sunday.