Lions upend Alouettes to win Grey Cup
WINNIPEG (CP) – Paul McCallum kicked a record six field goals as the British Columbia Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes 25-14 to claim the Grey Cup in a defensive battle Sunday.
Ian Smart had a touchdown for the Lions, the CFL’s best team in the regular season, who won their fifth Grey Cup and their first since they beat Montreal in the 2000 championship game.
”I can’t even describe it, it’s just feels so good,” Lions receiver Geroy Simon, the CFL’s most outstanding player who made four catches for 41 yards, told CBC. ”They did as great job of covering me, but we knew our big guys were going to step up and make some plays, they did a great job.”
Robert Edwards ran in a TD for the Alouettes, but fumbled on the one-yard line to kill a late comeback attempt with 4:06 left in the game. Otis Floyd recovered for B.C.
Damon Duval booted a field goal and the defence forced two safeties for Montreal, which was in its fifth Grey Cup in seven years and remains with only a win in 2002 to show for it.
McCallum, named the game’s outstanding Canadian, tied a record for Grey Cup games shared by three other kickers, including his kicking coach Don Sweet, who booted six in 1977, Hamilton’s Paul Osbaldiston in 1986 and Edmonton’s Edmonton’s Sean Fleming in 1993.
”The guys did really well, they got me in position I just did my job,” McCallum told CBC. ”I don’t know what to say it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
In a losing cause Montreal’s Anthony Calvillo was 20-of-41 for 234 yards, pushing his career yardage total in the championship game to 1,468 yards. That broke Doug Flutie’s record of 1,421.
And slotback Ben Cahoon made 11 receptions to break Als great Hal Patterson’s record of 29 career Grey Cup catches, upping it to 31.
A full house of 44,786 turned out in clear, -3 C cold to see a game that unfolded as predicted – a clear B.C. win.
The Lions entered the game as seven-point favourites and showed it in a dominant first half in which Montreal only twice moved the ball into B.C. territory.
But the Alouettes defence limited first-half damage to a 19-3 Lions lead on Smart’s TD and four McCallum field goals. Paris Jackson caught five passes for 65 yards and Ryan Thelwell had four for 39 yards in the opening 30 minutes alone.
Lions quarterback Dave Dickenson – named the game’s outstanding player after going 18-for-129 yards for 184 yards and ran for 53 more – led a long opening drive that resulted in a 34-yard McCallum field goal and then took his team from his own 18 into range for a 35-yard McCallum boot.
”I was going to do what it takes,” Dickenson told CBC. ”We deserved this.”
CFL outstanding rookie Aaron Hunt forced a Calvillo fumble at the Montreal 23, setting up yet another McCallum field goal.
Smart scored the game’s first TD on a 25-yard run untouched around the left side 4:12 into the second quarter.
”This is a very emotional night and an emotional game for me,” Smart told CBC. ”Yhis is a team that let me go early in the season, they told me I wasn’t good enough so I felt like I had something to prove.”
Montreal finally got into the B.C. end midway through the quarter, Duval’s 46-yard attempt was wide left. On Montreal’s next possession, Duval was good from 43 yards to put Montreal on the board.
Dickenson led a final drive for a 30-yard field goal as time expired in the half.
The Montreal defence returned with renewed resolve in the second half and momentum shifted as it forced a Dickenson fumble at the Als’ 46 that stood up after a challenge and video review.
The offence was stopped, but Duval angled a punt out at the B.C. one and two plays later, McCallum conceded a safety at 8:47.
Getting the ball back, Calvillo led his best drive to that point and Edwards scored on a two-yard run to cut B.C.’s lead to seven points.
The Lions are 5-4 in Grey Cup games while the Alouettes are 5-10. B.C coach Wally Buono, going against Grey Cup rookie Jim Popp, improved his record in championship games to 4-4.
It was a fifth trip in seven years to the Grey Cup game for the Alouettes, but their only win was in 2002 in Edmonton. The Lions lost a Grey Cup to Toronto in 2004.
As they have done often this season, the Lions used all three quarterbacks, with backups Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson going in for short running plays.
There was some nastiness before the game as Montreal’s Avon Cobourne and B.C.’s Floyd got into a jawing match and others joined in as the teams passed each other for player introductions.
Next year’s Grey Cup is to be played indoors at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
So, I wonder how the folks at the Saskatchewan Roughriders who let McCallum go feel now?!?
Lions upend Alouettes to win Grey Cup