Redblacks vault to top of East standings with rout of Alouettes
Ottawa wins 3rd straight while Montreal turns in 'disastrous' performance
The Ottawa Redblacks embarrassed a divisional opponent on the road Thursday night, but quarterback Trevor Harris refuses to call it a statement game.
The Redblacks are first in the CFL's East Division after beating the Montreal Alouettes 32-4 to extend their winning streak to three games.
Ottawa was 1-6-1 three weeks ago before winning three straight. With this latest victory, the Redblacks leapfrogged the inactive Toronto Argonauts, who play Monday.
"We're going to keep getting better," said Harris, who threw three touchdown passes. "We're not by any means going to look at this game and say we've arrived. We're trending in the right direction.
"We had a defining moment earlier in the year. We were 1-6 and we all looked at each other and knew that we believed."
Harris went 32-for-41 passing for 343 yards against Montreal, connecting with Diontae Spencer, Josh Stangby and Greg Ellingson for the TDs. The 31-year-old leads the league with 22 touchdowns and 3,531 passing yards.
Harris gets praise from coach
"He's been doing a good job for us all year," said Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell of his starting QB. "He made some big plays when he needed to. We're obviously glad we have him on our side."
Kicker Brett Maher added two field goals for Ottawa (4-6-1).
Already leading 4-0 in the second quarter, Ottawa started a drive at its own nine-yard line and marched down the length of the field. Penalties to Montreal kept the drive alive. Harris capped it off with a two-yard touchdown toss to Spencer at 4:16. Mossis Madu added a two-point convert to give the Redblacks a 12-0 lead.
Montreal took five penalties on that 101-yard scoring drive, including a costly 32-yard pass interference penalty on Greg Henderson. The Alouettes ended the game with 138 penalty yards.
At 2:50 of the third quarter, Harris found Stangby in the end zone from seven yards. Another two-point convert put the visitors in front 21-1.
Following a 53-yard field goal by Montreal's Boris Bede, his longest of the season, Ellingson put the game to bed with a 43-yard touchdown catch at 2:50 of the final quarter. Ellingson took advantage of missed coverage by Tyree Hollins for his seventh TD catch of the season.
Started from the bottom
"[First place] is where we wanted to be at the start of the season," said Spencer. "We started from the bottom, and we're just going to continue to climb. You can tell after this win, there's a swagger in the locker-room. Everybody is pumped up and excited.
"We feel like we're one of the top teams of the league."
The Alouettes (3-7), third in the East, have now lost three games in a row.
Darian Durant threw for 140 yards and an interception for Montreal before being replaced in the third quarter by backup quarterback Drew Willy. The move came after Durant threw his league-leading 11th interception of the season.
Willy, seeing his first real playing minutes of the year, went 5 of 8 for 68 passing yards.
It's the first time this season the Alouettes failed to score an offensive touchdown in a game.
"It really hurts," said centre Luc Brodeur-Jourdain. "In the fourth quarter, I saw our fans leaving the building. And can you blame them? We were bad. We had no running game, we were one dimensional.