Roughriders drop Alouettes

The Canadian Press

REGINA—It had been a long time since Macho Harris had a game like he did yesterday.
The Saskatchewan linebacker tied a Roughriders’ record with three interceptions in a game—bringing one back for a touchdown—as Saskatchewan beat the visiting Montreal Alouettes 33-21 at Mosaic Stadium.
“I’ve never had three interceptions in a game and the last time I had a touchdown was back in my senior year at Virgina Tech,” noted Harris, who only had one career interception in the CFL prior to yesterday.
Harris picked off Alouettes’ quarterback Jonathan Crompton on the first drive of the game at the Riders’ 46-yard line and brought it back 26 yards.
On the next play, Kevin Glenn hit Rob Bagg for a 38-yard TD strike (Paul McCallum missed the convert wide right).
Jerome Messam rattled off 111 rushing yards and scored one TD for Saskatchewan (2-11), which kept its slim playoff hopes alive.
Meanwhile, the Alouettes (5-7) failed to keep pace in the tight East Division.
Following a Montreal single on the next drive, Glenn went deep again—hooking up with Naaman Roosevelt for 49 yards that led to a 24-yard McCallum field goal at 7:17 of the first quarter to increase the lead to 9-1.
Harris’ second interception of the game with 1:16 left in the first half led to a 14-yard McCallum field goal, giving Saskatchewan a 15-1 lead at half.
After going 8-for-18 with 97 yards and two interceptions, Crompton was pulled to start the second half in favour of Rakeem Cato.
The change didn’t benefit Montreal, though, as Cato tossed up an interception at 4:37 in the third quarter to Harris, who returned his third pick of the game 50 yards for a TD—putting the game out of reach.
“Macho brings it every single week,” said Riders’ interim head coach Bob Dyce.
“He’s a smart guy and can play any position in the secondary,” he noted.
“It may not be seen outside of the room as much but Macho is also one of the biggest leaders on this team,” Dyce added.
While no CFL team has ever made the playoffs following a 1-11 start, Harris hopes his performance can inspire the team.
“We know it’s still possible,” Harris said. “We knew if we came out and won this game, it would mean a lot.
“At 2-11, people are probably counting us out, but at the end of the day we still believe,” he added.
S.J. Green and Brandon Rutley were the top offensive performers for the Alouettes, which now are two wins behind the nearest team in the East.
The team still leads in the crossover standings, however.
“It’s very disappointing. As quarterbacks, we’ve got to be making the right reads and right throws,” stressed Cato, who finished 14-for-21 with 170 yards, one touchdown, and a pair of picks.
“We’ve just got to remain mentally sharp, mentally sound, and focus on tomorrow,” he added.
“We have to come in and watch film and get better as a unit.”