WINNIPEG – Zach Collaros threw for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stayed perfect at home this season by defeating the Montreal Alouettes 31-21 in a seesaw battle Saturday.
It was Winnipeg’s (11-1) last regular-season game at home in the shortened 14-game CFL season. They hit the 7-0 mark in front of 22,933 fans at IG Field, the first time the club hasn’t lost at home since it went 8-0 in 1984.
The Bombers have already clinched first place in the West Division and will host the division final Dec. 5. Montreal (6-6) gota playoff spot when the B.C. Lions lost to Hamilton Friday night.
The teams play a rematch in Montreal next Saturday and Winnipeg finishes the regular season on the road in Calgary.
Bombers middle linebacker Adam Bighill intercepted Montreal quarterback Trevor Harris with 1:54 left to go in the fourth quarter and the Als on third down with three yards to go.
Newly acquired Winnipeg kicker Sergio Castillo then connected on a 47-yard field goal with 1:23 remaining to make it 31-21. Bombers defensive back DeAundre Alford capped it off with another pick of Harris with 54 seconds left.
Collaros, who went 21-of-33 passing with no interceptions, threw a 10-yard TD toss to receiver Nic Demski and a 24-yarder to Drew Wolitarsky. Backup quarterback Sean McGuire pushed in for a two-yard TD.
Castillo was also good on field-goal attempts from 22 and 34 yards and made all converts. He missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt and Montreal conceded a single.
Harris, making his first start since being traded from Edmonton last month, was 14-of-25 passing for 177 yards with two TDs and two picks.
Alouettes defensive lineman Jamal Davis recovered a fumble and ran 19 yards for a TD. Reggie White Jr. and Jake Wieneke both caught TD passes in the end zone. Kicker David Cote was good on three converts.
CFL-leading rusher William Stanback had 16 carries for 106 yards, taking the Als running back over the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season. He has 1,066 yards.
The game was tied 7-7 after the first quarter, 14-14 at halftime and 21-21 after the third.
Miscues led to the game’s first two touchdowns.
Demski’s TD at 6:24 of the first quarter came after a fumbled snap on a Montreal punt that had Winnipeg starting at the Alouettes’ 33-yard line.
On Montreal’s next possession, Bombers running back Brady Oliveira fumbled and Davis picked up the ball and ran into the end zone at 8:13 to tie it 7-7.
After the Als gave up a single on a missed Castillo field-goal try, Stanback rushed for 40 yards in a Montreal drive that endedwith White’s six-yard TD catch.
A Castillo 38-yard field goal tied it 14-14 with 37 seconds until halftime.
Montreal’s first possession of the third quarter ended with a TD toss to a wide-open Wieneke at 2:25. Quan Bray had a 39-yard reception to aid the scoring drive.
The Alouettes’ defence kept bringing pressure and forced the Bombers to punt on their next two possessions, but then Winnipeg got back-to-backs TDs from Wolitarsky at 10:08 of the third and McGuire 29 seconds into the fourth.
A 48-yard Castillo field goal was negated by Bomber procedure penalty, forcing the team to punt instead of picking up three points with seven minutes remaining in the third.
Winnipeg’s defence turned up their aggression in the fourth quarter, sacking and swarming Harris.