Ticats QB Manziel solid in pre-sea­son fi­nale

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS - KELSEY PAT­TER­SON

MON­TREAL — Johnny Manziel wasn’t flaw­less in his se­cond CFL pre-sea­son game, but he did enough to lead the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a come-from-be­hind vic­tory.

Manziel came into the game in the se­cond quar­ter and had an in­stant im­pact as the Ticats scored 30 unan­swered points to de­feat the Mon­treal Alou­ettes 30-15 Satur­day, in the se­cond and fi­nal pre-sea­son game for both teams.

The for­mer Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner went 12-for20 for 88 yards and a touch­down. He also ran for 19 yards.

Manziel is Hamilton’s backup quar­ter­back be­hind starter Jeremiah Ma­soli, who got the day off Satur­day.

“By no means is it per­fect, or close to per­fect, but there are some flashes, things I know and feel com­fort­able with,” said Manziel, who left the game in the fourth quar­ter. “There are things that I should hit on the field that I missed to­day. That’s just part of try­ing to get bet­ter and get back in a feel of play­ing ball ev­ery day, week in and week out.

“Any time I’m get­ting in and get­ting reps, and get­ting a chance to take live reps like to­day, that’s a pos­i­tive day.”

Manziel en­tered the game four min­utes into the se­cond quar­ter after starter Bryant Moniz went a pal­try 3-for-7 for 17 yards and an in­ter­cep­tion.

The sparse and quiet 12,325 fans at Per­ci­val Mol­son Sta­dium gave Manziel, the for­mer firstround draft pick of the Cleve­land Browns, a sub­dued cheer when he walked onto the field. In the crowd were a few Browns jer­seys and Texas A&M jer­seys, where the 25-year-old played his col­lege ball.

Down 14-0, Manziel’s in­flu­ence on the game was im­me­di­ate.

He com­pleted back-to­back passes to run­ning back Alex Green for the first Hamilton first down of the af­ter­noon. He fol­lowed that up, on the same drive, with a three-yard pass to Green for the touch­down to cut Mon­treal’s lead to 14-7.

“Hope­fully that’s the first of many,” said Manziel of the TD pass.

In the third quar­ter, Manziel, who made his CFL de­but last week in Hamilton’s 36-18 loss to Toronto, led his team down the field on two good drives that ended in field goals by kicker Lirim Ha­jrul­lahu.

TIGER-CATS ALOU­ETTES

PRE-SEA­SON

30 15

Sev­en­teen sec­onds into fourth, Joel Ross picked off backup Alou­ettes QB Gar­rett Fu­gate and re­turned the ball 30 yards for the touch­down.

After an­other Hamilton field goal, Manziel left the game with his side lead­ing 23-14.

“You saw him out there, he’s still a lit­tle rusty,” said Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones. “But he’s a com­peti­tor, he knows what’s go­ing on, he’s see­ing what’s go­ing on. He’s able to ex­e­cute real quickly. You guys can see what he can do. He can make a dif­fer­ence.

“I think he’s go­ing to be a very good player in this league.”

Dane Evans took over from Manziel in the fourth and went 5-for-6 for 65 yards.

Sean Thomas-Er­ling­ton’s one-yard TD run with 6:49 left on the clock gave the vis­i­tors a 30-14 lead.

Alou­ettes quar­ter­back Drew Willy left the game early in the third quar­ter after go­ing 10-for-18 for 105 yards.

Mon­treal head coach Mike Sher­man con­firmed Willy is the team’s start­ing quar­ter­back when the sea­son gets un­der­way next week.

Sher­man’s de­ci­sion was made easy for him when backup Matthew Shiltz strained a mus­cle in his back at prac­tice on Thurs­day. He’s day-to-day with the in­jury.

“(Willy) han­dles pres­sure re­ally well,” said Sher­man. “He’s been very good in the pocket in prac­tice. We’ve thrown a lot of blitzes at him an he’s done a good job with the pres­sure and mak­ing big plays. I’ve been pleased with that.”

Willy’s re­place­ment Fu­gate went 3-for-6 for 37 yards. He fum­bled the ball once and threw an in­ter­cep­tion.

The Alou­ettes went up 14-0 in the first half on a touch­down by Tyrell Sut­ton, a field goal by Boris Bede, a safety and two sin­gles.

Both teams play their sea­son open­ers next Satur­day. Hamilton is in Cal­gary to play the Stam­ped­ers while the Alou­ettes face the BC Lions on the road.

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