MONTREAL -- The Montreal Alouettes quarterback carousel has taken a promising turn with 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. Marty Barry Jersey . The former Ohio State star who only joined the Alouettes in August threw three touchdown passes in his first CFL start as Montreal downed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 36-5 to tighten the race for playoff positions on Sunday afternoon. "Its been cool," Smith said of his quick adaptation to 12-man football. "My teammates have helped me out tremendously. "The adaptation is definitely still going on. Im trying day in and day out to get things down pat. Its been fun." The team announced this week that CFL all-time passing leader Anthony Calvillo, who has been out since August with a concussion, will not return this season. That made finding a starter to finish out the campaign and take Montreal into the playoffs has been a priority. Tanner Marsh had a good stretch but then faltered, as did Josh Neiswander. Now it is Smiths turn, and he passed the first test by completing 17 of 35 passes for 247 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. "He did a great job," said coach Jim Popp. "I dont know if he was nervous. "We didnt run everything right. Its great to be able to take what we did today and improve on it. We know theres a lot of upside to what were doing. We were moving the ball and scoring and we got over that 30-point mark like we said we needed to do." S.J. Green, with two, and Arland Bruce were on the receiving end of TD throws, while Tyrell Sutton ran one in. Sean Whyte had two field goals as Montreal won for the third time in four games. The third-place Alouettes (7-9) are hoping to overtake Hamilton (8-8) for second place in the East Division and the right to play host to a playoff game. The teams meet again on Saturday in Guelph, Ont., with the winner taking the season series between the two clubs. The Montreal defence held CFL offensive player of the week C.J. Gable to no yards on three carries and only 39 yards on six catches. It also limited Henry Burris to 106 passing yards before he was replaced by Dan LeFevour late in the third quarter. Coach Kent Austin didnt know what to make of a team that was coming off winning its season series with first-place Toronto, who they can still catch for first place. They were anaemic on attack, and ruined a handful of positive plays with penalties. "Just generally speaking, for whatever reason, we werent ready to play and they were," said Austin. "They brought the game to us. "They were more physical than us. They just whipped us in all three areas of the game. We werent disciplined. We had too many penalties. Ive got to figure out why we werent ready to play like we have been the last couple of weeks. Ive got to get to the bottom of it. Ive got to get my team better prepared." The Ticats only scoring came from a Luca Congi field goal and a safety. "We executed our defence," said Montreal linebacker Shea Emry. "Weve had lots of games where we put that many points up and we let teams slip back in. "There were times we almost did that, but then we didnt let them capitalize on those penalties or plays." Smith has seen mostly spot duty since he signed, but after Neiswander struggled in a loss to Winnipeg last week, Popp decided to give the former Baltimore Raven and San Francisco 49er a start. Smith, the fourth Alouette quarterback to start a game this season, didnt disappoint as he threw for 207 yards and three TDs in the first half as Montreal opened a 31-3 lead. In the opening quarter, he hit Green for TDs of 64 and two yards. With his 11th and 12th of the season, Green reached a career high in TD catches in a season and passed the 1,000-yard mark for a third straight year. After Congis 26-yard field goal to open the second quarter, Sutton scored on a 19-yard run off tackle at 5:46. Whyte added a 32-yard boot after a 40-yard punt return by Bo Bowling at 12:21 and Smith hit Bruce with a sideline pass for a 26-yard score just ahead of halftime. Montreal slowed play down after the intermission, adding a field goal, while each team conceded a safety. Smith admitted he was a nervous at the start. His first two possessions were two-and-outs. But then he hit Bowling with a 12-yard pass and on the next play found Green wide open for a TD. He also showed he could use his feet, both to buy time for a pass while scrambling or to gain 16 yards on three rushes. "To start off, I was anxious," he said. "Some of my throws were not normal throws. The first completion to Bo Bowling was huge. Sometimes you just need something like that to get you going." Notes: Bowling returned after missing the opening 15 games with an ankle injury. . . The result tied the season series between the teams at one win each, as the Ticats beat Montreal 28-26 in Moncton, N.B. on Sept. 21. . . The Ticats wasted a chance to clinch a home playoff date. . . Burris rushed for one yard, leaving him five short of 5,000 for his career. Bruins Jerseys 2019 . The 57-year-old Tietjens has coached New Zealand to nine IRB World Sevens titles and to four Commonwealth Games gold medals as its only coach in the professional era. New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the re-signing was made with a focus on 2016 when sevens will be in the Olympics. Jean Ratelle Jersey . Kerber will next play Estonias Kaia Kanepi, who beat American qualifier Victoria Duval 6-1, 6-3. In other first-round matches, Lucie Safarova beat 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-4 and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands had a 6-4, 6-3 win over Canadas Eugenie Bouchard.DUNEDIN, Florida – The Blue Jays are on the record with the clubs plan to start Brandon Morrow in the seasons fifth game, the home opener on April 4th against the New York Yankees. "Right now were kind of looking at him at the end of the rotation right now," said pitching coach Pete Walker. "Not indicative of how hes doing or how hes feeling. Its just, it seems like the spot we want him right now." Morrows final outing last season came on May 28. He was suffering from pain and stiffness in his right forearm. The diagnosis was an entrapped radial nerve. When rest and treatment didnt solve the problem, Morrow was shut down for the year in late July. Now, with just more than two weeks left until opening day, Morrows high count for the spring is 47 pitches. His last outing came last Tuesday, March 11, against the Baseball Canada junior team, during which he threw only fastballs and splitters. He has struggled to command his fastball, which the club and Morrow insist isnt worrisome due to his long layoff. "Were looking at the way guys are throwing and Brandon, right now, we want to make sure hes healthy, we want to make sure he gets through the season healthy," said Walker. "We need him to be a big part of this rotation and right now its just where he fits in." Morrow has been throwing relatively consistently since November. The Jays have brought him along carefully this spring but with the regular season looming, Morrow is running out of time to build up to go deeper into games. With too few innings to spread among all of their rotation hopefuls, the Jays are giving minor league games to rotation certainties like R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle. Morrow is included in that bunch. The plan is for Morrow to pitch four or five innings against the Yankees Scranton affiliate on Tuesday in Tampa. Tuesdays start will come a full week after Morrows last appearance. Walker says theres no concern about Morrows health. "No, no, but just past history we want to make sure we take care of him as best we can," he said. "Tuesday will be a good outing for him," continued Walker. "Hes going to get some good work on Tuesday and hell still have two outings after that." The Blue Jays have off days on three consecutive Mondays in April: April 7, 14 and 21. The club will require a fifth starter on four occasions during the first month of the season, although Walker and manager John Gibbons will be able to make adjustments as they see fit. "It depends on who youre playing, how you line up sometimes as you look at the first couple of weeks of the season," said Walker. "We can always slot him back in where we want to put him but, right now, this is how things look right now. Things could change." Meanwhile, Gibbons reiterated on Sunday morning that, in his mind, there is one spot open in the starting rotation. Neithher the manager nor anyone on his coaching staff will publicly confirm Drew Hutchison has a big league job. Anders Bjork Jersey. However, the 23-year-old has been the best starter in camp. It would be a hard sell, barring the unforeseen, to keep Hutchison off the opening day roster. That leaves J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond and Ricky Romero fighting for the final spot. "Im a big Happ fan," said Gibbons. "I think hes going to have a heck of a year for us. All indications the other day, his backs fine, he threw very well and that was a big question. Now, if his back flares up, it may be a different story." Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil are assured bullpen jobs. What isnt yet decided is whether there will be a seven reliever contingent or an eight-man bullpen heading north. An eight-man bullpen would shorten Gibbons bench but with much uncertainty about the group of starters, Gibbons wouldnt rule out taking an extra arm. There is also the business matter of options – who has them and who doesnt – to factor in. The Jays may have no choice but to put one of their pitchers through waivers but the club is loathe to lose the bodies. "What makes the team the strongest," said Gibbons. "Do we feel we need to carry that extra guy to help the rotation out? Because theyre all really good; I mean, were not going to keep a guy just to keep a guy unless theyre valuable and we think everybody we have is valuable." CAMP CUTS The Blue Jays optioned pitchers Kyle Drabek, Sean Nolin and Chad Jenkins to Triple-A Buffalo prior to Sundays 4-3, 10-inning win over the Orioles. Drabek, 26, struggled to command his repertoire this spring, giving up eight earned runs, 10 hits and six walks over eight innings. "Go down there and start pitching," said manager John Gibbons. "Were running out of time. Hes not going to make the team. He needs to go down there and get his work in." Jenkins, 26, allowed three runs over 6 2/3 spring innings, including one each in his final two appearances. He was a contributor as a call up last season, both as a starter and as a reliever, but he has options remaining. The Blue Jays can get Jenkins to Buffalo without first passing him through waivers. "He should be pitching in the big leagues," said Gibbons. "Theyre not far away. If somebody falters, if we keep somebody in the bullpen and they falter and we feel like they can help us more, theyll be right back up. Thats just the way the game works." Nolin, a 24-year-old lefthander, appeared in four spring games, starting one. He made his big league debut last May in a loss to Baltimore, was quickly demoted and not recalled the remainder of the season. Hes an option for the Blue Jays if the rotation suffers from underperformance or an injury. ' ' '
Dec 5, 2017
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