Cody Fajardo threw three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Tyson Philpot with 13 seconds left, as the Alouettes rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit, outscoring Winnipeg 21-7 in the game’s final 30 minutes . Canadian Soccer LeagueThe game for the title.
Fajardo was named Gray Cup Most Valuable Player and Philpot was named Best Canadian.
The Bombers’ first drive took 6:28 off the clock and resulted in a 25-yard field goal by Sergio Castillo. The drive covered 48 yards in nine plays.
After Montreal went two-and-out on its first drive of the game, the Bombers responded with an eight-play, 66-yard drive that culminated with a five-yard touchdown run by 2023 Canadian Most Outstanding Brady Oliveira to give Winnipeg 10-0. advantage.
Montreal got on the board when running back William Stanback roared into the end zone for a 32-yard score to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 10-7 with five seconds left in the first quarter.
Oliveira fumbled at the Montreal 20-yard line 4:24 into the second quarter when Kabion Ento knocked the ball out of the running back’s hands and Ciante Evans jumped on him for the first turnover of the contest. But the Alouettes couldn’t capitalize and gave the ball back to Winnipeg six plays later.
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The Blue Bombers created their own turnover with 5:22 left in the first half when Brandon Alexander forced Alouette kick returner James Lechter to fumble and Mike Benson recovered it at the Montreal 29-yard line.
Five plays later, Winnipeg backup quarterback Dakota Prukop scored a one-yard touchdown to put the Bombers ahead 17-7 with 2:52 left in the half.
Winnipeg forced its second turnover of the quarter when its defense twice stuffed Montreal backup quarterback Caleb Evans from the one-yard line in the final seconds of the half.
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The Alouettes opened the second half strong, going 60 yards in three plays, highlighted by Fajardo’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Cole Spieker to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 17-14.
Ento made his second big play of the game with 7:21 left in the third quarter when he intercepted Zach Collaros deep in the corner of the end zone. While Montreal’s defense prevented the Bombers from increasing their lead, Al’s offense was unable to convert the turnover into points and eventually punted the ball deep into Bombers territory.
Fajardo’s first pass of the fourth quarter was a deep downfield throw that was intercepted by Winnipeg running back Evan Holm at the Bombers’ 21-yard line. But Winnipeg went two and out and Philpot returned Jamieson Sheahan’s punt to the Bombers 28.
Three plays later, Montreal took its first lead of the game, 21-17, when Fajardo threw a 13-yard touchdown to Austin Mack.
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The Blue Bombers regained a three-point lead with an impressive drive that culminated in a four-yard touchdown run by Prukop to cap a nine-play, 54-yard drive that took 5:17 off the clock.
With less than a minute left in the game, Fajardo threw a pass downfield that was caught by Spieker for a 31-yard gain at the Winnipeg 19. On the next play, Fajardo fired a 19-yard touchdown to Philpot to win the game. . Score with 13 seconds left.
Next year’s Gray Cup championship game will be played at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
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