HAMILTON – Fantastic victory for the last match of the season against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Two Hamilton Tiger-Cats scored their first career touchdowns but Vernon Adams Jr. stole the show, throwing three touchdown passes to lead the Montreal Alouettes to a 32-25 win on Saturday afternoon at Tim Hortons Field.
Adams Jr. threw three touchdown passes, including a 41-yard catch-and-run by B.J. Cunningham in the fourth quarter, to lead the Alouettes to their third straight win in a back-and-forth affair.
Brian Tyms and Anthony Woodson scored their first career touchdowns for Hamilton while Jeff Mathews threw for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 18-of-29 in the loss.
Adams Jr. played his best game as a pro, going 16-of-28 for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
The victory moves Adams Jr. to 3-0 as a starter in his young career and the Als to 4-2 under interim head coach Jacques Chapdelaine.
While Adams Jr. and the Als’ offence struggled to get in an early rhythm, it was the dynamic return man in Stefan Logan who opened the scoring midway through the first quarter with an 86-yard punt return touchdown off the leg of Brett Maher.
The Ticats, looking to get in sync on offence a week ahead of their Eastern Semi-Final matchup, also struggled out of the gate on that side of the ball.
Collaros led the Tabbies to a pair of Brett Maher field goals in the opening 15 minutes but that was all either team could muster, exiting the first quarter with the Alouettes ahead 7-6.
With a home playoff game cemented, the Ticats immediately turned to Mathews to start the second quarter, but at that time it was the Alouettes pushing on the gas.
Another long punt return for Logan, this one a run of 45 yards, set the Alouettes up in prime field position. Adams Jr. needed just two plays for it to pay off, connecting with Giguere in the back of the end zone to restore Montreal’s lead to 14-6 — one that would hold up until halftime.
Mathews continued operating under centre and set up Maher’s third field goal of the game, cutting Hamilton’s deficit to 14-9.
While two big returns by Logan contributed to both of Montreal’s touchdown, it was a turnover leading to the Ticats’ first score and a major shift in momentum. Nik Lewis fumbled after an eight-yard catch and Ticats linebacker Keon Raymond recovered, giving Hamilton possession at the Montreal 44.
Mathews quickly went to work, first connecting with John Chiles for a 20-yard pickup, then on the next play finding Brian Tyms in close coverage for Hamilton’s first touchdown and lead of the game. That was Tyms’ first career touchdown while Kevin Elliott scored on the two-point try, putting the Ticats ahead 17-14.
His team down three and needing an answer, Adams Jr. continued to get in a rhythm as the game progressed. Time ran out in the third quarter after two quick first downs by the Alouette offence, and on the very next play the 23-year-old rookie pivot found Giguere for a 37-yard touchdown — the second hookup between those two of the contest.
With the score 21-18 following a punt single off the leg of Maher, Brandon Rutley coughed up the football on the ensuing run and picking it up and running with it was Ticats defensive back Chris Davis. Davis picked up 29 on the return while a facemask put Hamilton at the Montreal five.
Promptly punching it in was Woodson, another Ticat with his first career touchdown to put the Tabbies back in front, 25-21.
In a back-and-forth affair with three lead changes already, the Alouettes wasted no time mounting a response.
Adams Jr. had put his rough start behind him and was showing the poise and confidence of a seasoned veteran, completing a 35-yard pass to Lewis before connecting with Cunningham over the middle for a 41-yard catch-and-run.
The quick three-play drive put Montreal ahead yet again, 32-25 in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Alouettes added a late field goal and a single point off the ensuing kickoff, while Mathews and the Ticats’ offence failed to conjure up a response in the final minute.