It took the Hamilton Tiger-Cats all of 10 plays to eviscerate the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday.
A pick six from Ticats’ defensive back Emanuel Davis got things started. A Bombers’ run play, then a sack, followed by a punt block, followed by another Hamilton touchdown pass. The Ticats recovered the kickoff and, after three quick runs, tossed yet another touchdown score. It took exactly four minutes and 30 seconds and staked the home side insurmountable 21-0 lead on their way to 38-8 win.
Davis scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving him three on the season – the other came in a week two rout of the Bombers – and it had head coach Kent Austin looking to cash in as well.
“I have to take him to Vegas,” Austin joked.
Of course not everything went the Ticats way in the first half: one of Justin Medlock’s converts sailed into the sands and knocked over a drink. Other than that, the Ticats were in full control of the first 30 minutes from before the opening whistle – yes, they won the toss – until the clock hit zero and the scoreboard read 31-0.
“We started fast and we got some plays that snowballed,” Austin said. “Our effort was there.”
Ticats quarterback Zach Collaros was merciless early, throwing for 280 yards on 20 of 30 passes and three touchdown passes on the night. Collaros took advantage of the early opportunities – including a short scoring toss to offensive lineman Ryan Bomben – then threw a 58 yard bomb to Terrence Tolliver to stretch the lead to 28-0.
Collaros wasn’t particular happy with his game – the offence had a tough second half – but was smiling about the throw to Bomben, who normally lines up at right guard.
“I didn’t give him an easy one but he caught it over his shoulder and made a heck of play,” Collaros said. “I told him I wanted him to show off his ability a little bit.”
The Hamilton defence pounded Winnipeg quarterback Drew Willy, sacking him five times, and knocking him from the game on the final play of the third quarter with what looked like a knee injury. It’s the second straight contest Willy has failed to finish against the Ticats, who demolished the Bombers 52-26 on July 2.
The second half wasn’t quite as pretty for the home side. Collaros threw two interceptions – one bounced off the hands of his receiver – and the Ticats failed to register a point. Head coach Kent Austin kept Collaros at the controls the entire game, looking to get some offensive production.
“We just have to learn that a lull her or there is going to happen but we can’t come out flat for an entire half,” Austin said. “We were just trying to get a rhythm back and see if we could string some first downs together.”
The defence gave up an early touchdown but held the fort the rest of the way with Davis registering his second major with just under 90 seconds remaining. Justin Hickman registered three sacks while Eric Norwood and Ted Laurent each had a pair.
With the win, the Ticats improve to 4-2 and remain in a tie for first place in the East Division with the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks. They are still a perfect 9-0 at Tim Hortons Field dating back to last season and will play here again next Saturday against the B.C. Lions.
Hickman said the streak is starting to take on a life it’s own.
“It’s like no other. At first it was just something you talk about but I really think it is starting to turn into something,” he said. “It’s hard to put into words, but this is a tough place to play.