MONTREAL – James Rodgers’ 82-yard punt return TD helped rally the Montreal Alouettes to a 38-31 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Percival Molson Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Rodgers’ return broke a 24-24 tie as Montreal (3-7) earned its second straight win to move into a tie with idle Toronto atop the East Division. Hamilton (2-7) is third, two points ahead of Ottawa (1-9).
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Jonathan Crompton finished 18-of-27 passing for 205 yards with a TD and interception in his second straight start for Montreal, which outscored Hamilton 31-10 in the second half to secure the victory.
Crompton played Sunday with a heavy heart.
The Als quarterback, who had been growing his hair for the Locks for Love campaign, divulged Sunday his former fiancee had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier this season and died Friday.
Crompton was planning to head home to Tennesse after the game to be with his ex-fiancee’s family.
Hamilton’s Zach Collaros was 30-of-43 passing for 345 yards and added 35 rushing yards.
Montreal trailed 24-10 when Montreal’s Billy Parker intercepted Collaros and returned it 45 yards to Hamilton’s four-yard line at 9:10 of the third quarter.
Four plays and a pass interference penalty later, backup quarterback Tanner Marsh scored on a one-yard run.
That seemed to energize the Alouettes as three minutes later, Crompton put together his best drive of the game to make it 24-24.
He had a 33-yard completion to Duron Carter and 42-yard toss to Chad Johnson, then finished the five-play, 98-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring strike to Carter.
Marsh added his second rushing TD of the game at 12:05 of the fourth.
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Collaros had a TD pass to Andy Fantuz with 11 seconds remaining.
Linebacker Winston Venable put Montreal ahead in the first, returning Mossis Madu’s fumble 59 yards for the TD.
Hamilton responded with a turnover score of its own when cornerback Rico Murray returned a Crompton interception 40 yards for the touchdown.
Collaros then had a three-yard touchdown pass to Fantuz with time expiring in the first.
It was a disastrous opening quarter for Montreal, which had no first downs and one yard of total offence.
Justin Medlock added his second field goal of the game and a 53-yard single late in the second to put Hamilton ahead 21-7 at halftime.
The two teams exchanged field goals in the third.