Any Montreal Alouettes fan may remember Jamel Richardson‘s ability to produce in big games, in particular his three consecutive 100-yard games in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Grey Cup games. The receiver famously said, “when the stars are out, that’s when your stars come out… Whenever your teams call on you, you have to make that play, you don’t want to let them down.”
One player that has the similar big-game attitude is #89 on the Alouettes, and when the spotlight is on him, Duron Carter shines.
Duron Carter Shines in the Spotlight
After Carter’s famous run-in with Ottawa Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell back in Week 2, Carter returned to the Nation’s Capital Friday night with the spotlight on him. The flamboyant – yet dominating – receiver was public enemy number one at TD Place but used the boos as motivation to quiet down the crowd by the end of the evening.
It seemed early on that the crowd tamed Carter, as he opened the game with three receptions on four targets for only 38 yards. He was tackled for a five-yard lost on a reverse sweep in the first quarter and was sarcastically cheered on by the Redblacks faithful. It seemed like it was going to be a long night for Carter.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn spread the ball to players like Nik Lewis and B.J. Cunningham in the first half, and Carter was irrelevant for the better part of the opening half hour. Only in the final minute of the second quarter did Carter come out to shine.
Glenn heaved out a bomb to a wide open Carter, who ran it in with ease for a 67-yard touchdown. Ottawa challenged offensive pass interference on Carter, who threw Abdul Kanneh to the ground within the five-yard contact zone, but the call on the field stood. Carter stood on the sidelines, raining in the boos with his arms up, accepting that nobody in Ottawa liked him but that his team was up 23-9 at the point. The stars were out, and the star in Carter came out to play.
Carter later sent Ottawa fans home with his ridiculous touchdown catch in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter. The game was out of reach for the Redblacks at 36-19, but the Alouettes continued to put on a show for their Eastern rivals. Glenn bombed a pass 31 yards and found Carter in the endzone, who outstretched and out-muscled his former teammate Mitchell White for the possible highlight of Week 9.
Carter finished with only five receptions, but for 126 yards and two touchdown passes. His last two receptions put 12 points up on the board.
If there is a player in the CFL who loves the spotlight more than Carter, it will be hard to find him. Not only does Carter love the spotlight, but he shines in it, and his team wins when he steals the show. Carter has four games of over 100 yards, and they were all in the past five weeks. Two of the Alouettes three wins have come in games where Carter scores and hits the century mark in yards. When he fails to hit 100 yards, the Alouettes are 1-3.
At 3-5 and in a battle for the third and final playoff spot in the East, the Alouettes will need Carter to produce in these big games in the second half of the season. Carter may at times be inconsistent, but when he’s hot, he’s hot. And that’s what the Alouettes are in search for the rest of the way.