Calgary stomps Montreal in opener
Calgary, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 313 yards and a pair of touchdowns as he led the Calgary Stampeders to a 29-8 win over the Montreal Alouettes in the season opener at McMahon Stadium.
Mitchell completed 16-of-25 passes, spreading the wealth among eight receivers for Calgary (1-0).
Running back Jon Cornish carried the ball 14 times for 67 yards and a score and also caught three passes for another 41 yards for the hosts.
This was the first time in 15 years that Montreal (0-1) began a season without Anthony Calvillo under center after the star quarterback retired following the 2013 campaign. Troy Smith made the start for the Alouettes and was less than impressive as he connected on 18-of-41 for 154 yards, was picked off once and sacked four times.
Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson made his debut for Montreal and tallied two catches for 20 yards in the setback.
With the victory Calgary, which was assessed a total of six major penalties on the afternoon, has now won three straight and six of the last seven regular season meetings against the Als.
This was the weakest offensive showing during the regular season for Montreal since the team was blitzed by British Columbia in the 2011 finale (43-1).
The Stamps received the opening kick but failed to move the ball sufficiently, leaving punter Rob Maver to pick up a single with a kick that reached the end zone.
On their first play from scrimmage, the Als tried to jump-start the offense as Smith went to Chad Johnson near midfield, but the pass fell incomplete. Montreal was also forced to punt, but managed to retain possession after punter Sean Whyte was roughed up on the play.
The opening series for the Alouettes was again extended due to a penalty, this time for roughing the passer.
Charleston Hughes, who led the CFL with 18 sacks a year ago, came up with his first of 2014 on Smith six minutes into the meeting. Pushed back, the Als opted to attempt a field goal from 38 yards out, but Whyte's attempt missed to the left.
Kicker Rene Paredes, who set a CFL record last season by converting 39 consecutive field goals, pushed the Calgary advantage to 4-0 with a 38-yard effort with just under three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Stampeders added to their advantage moments later when Mitchell let fly from inside his own end zone and found Maurice Price on the run near midfield, the wide receiver then streaking to the end zone to complete the 102-yard TD pass play.
Johnson caught his first CFL pass with about five minutes remaining in the first half and immediately earned some attention when he got in the face of the defense. Shortly thereafter, Smith tossed his second interception of the contest, but it was wiped out by yet another defensive penalty on the Stamps.
Calgary, which owned an 11-0 lead at the break, was given a short field to start off the second half, partly due to a penalty at the end of the first half, and capitalized with a 26-yard field goal by Paredes.
Both offenses continued to struggle though, with Maver adding another single on an 88-yard punt with under five minutes remaining in the third frame.
With the quarter winding down, Montreal finally landed on the scoreboard, thanks to a 50-yard single by Whyte. Heading into the fourth, Calgary owned a 15-1 advantage and had generated 290 yards of total offense, compared to just 103 for the Alouettes.
Calgary took the first possession of the final period and steadily moved the ball down the field, culminating with an 18-yard rushing TD for Cornish after taking a direct snap from center, bursting up the middle and into the end zone.
Tempers flared a bit late in the meeting after Nik Lewis delivered a vicious block on Montreal linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette. The Als defender was able to leave under his own power, but that almost wasn't the case for Cornish who was violently taken down by Kyries Hebert.
Initially, it appeared Cornish would leave the field in an ambulance, but he too eventually walked off. Hebert was subsequently ejected for his rough play.
Capping off a drive that began at their own two-yard line, the Stampeders put the ball into the end zone once again as Mitchell lofted a pass 16 yards to a wide open Anthony Parker. With the PAT, the seven-play drive made the score 29-1.
Montreal managed to score a touchdown with no time remaining on the clock after Calgary was assessed yet another penalty, this time in the end zone as time expired. Steven Lumbala bulled his way over the goal line in order to make the score 29-8 once it was officially over.
06/28 21:40:58 ET