Quarterback Crompton returns to lead Alouettes over Bombers 35-14

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MONTREAL — There’s no talk yet of a quarterback controversy on the Montreal Alouettes but Jonathan Crompton has staked a claim on his old job as the starter.

After missing nine games with a shoulder injury, Crompton threw touchdown passes to Samuel Giguere and S.J. Green as the Alouettes defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 35-14 on Sunday afternoon.

Crompton went down in the opening game of the regular season and rookie Rakeem Cato stepped up in his place. But Cato missed one game while attending to a family matter and didn’t return in time to prepare to start against Winnipeg. He got in a few plays at the end of the game, however.

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Coach and general manager Jim Popp did not want to think about who will start next Sunday at Saskatchewan.

“Naw, I’ll celebrate the win,” he said.

It was quarterback legend Anthony Calvillo’s first game as the play caller since he and Ryan Dinwiddie became co-offensive co-ordinators after Turk Schonert was fired two weeks ago.

Crompton played very much as he did last season, when he took over as starter in August and went 8-2 down the stretch to give Montreal a 9-9 record and a spot in the playoffs. It wasn’t spectacular, but the job got done. He completed 14 of 27 passes for 181 yards, with two TDs and two interceptions.

It would make sense for him to start the next game, but Crompton was making no assumptions.

“It was one game,” he said. “We played well.

“The O-line did a great job. The running backs ran the ball tremendously hard and the receivers made plays.”

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Crompton’s cause was aided by a strong game from kick returner Stefan Logan, who returned a punt 78 yards for a TD late in the first half and then opened the second half with a career-long 95-yard kickoff return to set up Crompton’s eight-yard TD pass to Green.

“Special teams, we understood we had to have a big game and it was tough,” said Bombers coach Mike O’Shea. “When we play tight games against good defences we need top notch special teams.”

Boris Bede booted four field goals for Montreal (5-6), which has won three of its last four.

The win put Montreal, last in the East Division, one win ahead of West clubs Winnipeg and B.C. in the race for a crossover playoff spot. The Alouettes ended a five-game losing run to the Bombers over the last three seasons, and beat them at home for only the second time in their last seven meetings.

Backup quarterback Brian Brohm scored a touchdown and Lirim Hajrullahu had two field goals for Winnipeg (4-8), which was coming off a win over Saskatchewan but now has a tough test Friday night at home against first-place Calgary. The Bombers have yet to win two in a row this season.

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“They’re similar (to Montreal),” said Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols, who completed 23 of 48 passes for 189 yards with one interception. “They’ve got a good front, veteran guys on the back end. We have to march the field on them.”

A crowd of 23,262, the largest at Percival Molson Stadium in nearly two years, saw Montreal get field goals on its first two drives.

Crompton was picked off by Matt Bucknor late in the first quarter, but Cameron Marshall fumbled it back. Crompton then led a drive capped by a 41-yard TD strike to Giguere.

Nichols, making his second start for the Bombers, went off briefly after a hit from Marc-Olivier Brouillette. On that drive, three Montreal roughing penalties helped Winnipeg move the ball inside the 10, and Brohm carried in from the one with 8:00 left in the game.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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