Tiger-Cats top Ottawa REDBLACKS for first win of the season

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats got their first win of the season on Sunday night after defeating the Ottawa REDBLACKS 21-13 at Tim Horton’s Field.

Tyreik McAllister had the big play of the night on a 64-yard touchdown reception, his only catch of the game. James Butler added 64 yards on the ground on 15 carries.

Jameer Thurman led the Ticats’ defence with nine tackles and two sacks.

Matthew Shiltz went 19-26, throwing for 233 yards.

Jeremiah Masoli returned to game action exactly one year after suffering a leg injury that cost him the rest of the 2022 season and the first three games of 2023. Ottawa was 5-12 in that span. But he would leave with another injury in the first quarter.

The Tiger-Cats would jump out to an early lead on their first drive of the game after a dropped touchdown pass by Tony Godwin in the endzone would lead to a 13-yard Marc Liegghio field goal.

On Hamilton’s next drive, Matthew Shiltz ran for a first down but then took a time count violation penalty and then was sacked on the next play by Bryce Carter.

The Tabbies would add to their lead in the second quarter with another Liegghio field goal from 50 yards.

Hamilton RB Tyreik McAllister #35. Photo Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

On the next Ottawa drive, Masoli’s pass to Justin Hardy was tipped into the hands of Hamilton’s Chris Edwards which would lead to another field goal from 20 yards out to give the Ticats a 9-0 lead with ten minutes to go in the half.

Bad luck would strike the REDBLACKS on their subsequent drive when after Masoli moved out of the pocket, he went down with another leg injury on a non-contact play. He was carried off the field and would not return to the game.

However, Ottawa was in field goal range and would get themselves on the board with a 36-yard Lewis Ward field goal to cut Hamilton’s lead to six late in the half.

The Ticats would fail to convert a third down on their next possession, turning the ball back over to Ottawa.

Dustin Crum would take over at quarterback for the REDBLACKS but would be sacked by Jameer Thurman on his first drive at pivot.

But on Ottawa’s next drive, Crum would run the ball in for a touchdown. Ward would knock the extra point in to give the REDBLACKS their first lead of the game, which they would take into the half.

The REDBLACKS would extend their lead to 13-9 in the third quarter on a 20-yard Ward field goal.

Hamilton would promptly turn the ball back over on their next possession when Shiltz threw the ball right into the hands of Ty Cranston.

But the REDBLACKS would give it right back to the Ticats on an interception from Simoni Lawrence and the Tabbies would capitalize on the next play, after Shiltz threw a short pass to Tyreik McAllister who would take it 64 yards to the house.

The Hamilton defence would get to Crum on Ottawa’s next drive, knocking the ball out of his hands. After it bounced around for a bit, Ted Laurent would scoop up the loose rock.

The back and forth continued when Kiondre Smith fumbled a pass from Shiltz. The ball would bounce off Brandin Dandridge and out of bounds, giving possession back to Ottawa.

Hamilton extended their lead to 18-13 with ten minutes to go in the fourth quarter on a 34-yard field goal from Liegghio.

Ottawa gave the ball right back on the next drive after Crum threw an interception to Richard Leonard with nine minutes left in the game.

The Ticats added to their lead one more time just before the three-minute warning after a Liegghio field goal made it 21-13.

Thurman got to Crum with two minutes left for his second sack of the night.

Photo: Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

This is the first time in Ottawa football history that three different starting quarterbacks have been used in the first four games and the first time in the league since Hamilton in 2014 (Collaros, Masoli and Lefevour).

The REDBLACKS came into this game leading the league in sacks on a per-game basis with an average of 4.0 per game.

Despite the home opener loss, the Ticats are 6-2 in their last eight home games and have not lost at home to the REDBLACKS since 2018.

The Ticats are now 9-2 coming off a bye week since 2018.

Sherrod BaltimoreCariel Brooks and Tyrie Adams all sat for Ottawa due to injury and Tunde AdelekeBailey Feltmate and Ryrone Riley sat out for the Tiger-Cats.

The Ticats open Week 6 with a trip to Edmonton to face the Elks on Thursday. The REDBLACKS will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday, July 15 at TD Place.

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