Ticats lose game to Stamps, Collaros to injury

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost both a game and a quarterback on Saturday.

The Ticats fell 36-17 to the Calgary Stampeders at Tim Hortons Field and also saw Zach Callaros go down with what the team is calling an “upper body injury.” Collaros appeared to get hurt late in the second quarter when he was planted into ground by Calgary defensive end Charleston Hughes. He did not return for the second half and there was no immediate update on his long-term status,

And if that’s bad news for Ticats fans, the game was hardly much better.

The Stampeders took the ball to open the game and promptly marched down the field, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell going five-for-five as part of an 84-yard drive he capped with an easy touchdown pass to DaVaris Daniels. The Ticats rebuilt secondary, featuring its fourth different alignment in the last four games, looked shaky out of the gate (and more or less remained that way.)

The offence, with head coach and play caller Kent Austin banished upstairs to the coach’s booth as CFL-decreed punishment for an on-field incident with an official last week, wasn’t much better. Collaros had his first two passes knocked down and only a replay prevented a Ticat fumble from becoming a Calgary touchdown. Hamilton conceded a safety instead and Calgary registered a field goal on the subsequent possession, taking an early 13-0 lead.

The Ticats got on the board courtesy of a nervy 46-yard field goal, Brett Maher connecting into the wind. That seemed to steady the ship on both sides of ball with the Hamilton defence forcing two-and-outs and registering an Emanuel Davis interception whilee the offence found some rhythm. Maher hit from 43 to cut the lead to seven with just over four to play in the half.

Mitchell hit Daniels with a 59-yard bomb on the first play following the three-minute warning to extend the Calgary lead, beating the coverage of newcomer Johnny Adams. And while Maher crushed a 58 yard field goal – a team record – to give the home side some momentum, the Stamps responded with a three-pointer of their own and took a 22-9 advantage into the break.

Collaros, who took a hard hit late in the second quarter, didn’t come out for the start of the third, ruled out with an upper body injury. Jeremiah Masoli, who started six games to start the season while Collaros recovered from knee surgery, took over and promptly led the offence on a pair of two and outs.

The Stampeders turned one of those into a touchdown, Jerome Messam punching it in from the one-yard line.

Masoli moved the ball decently – there was a 14-play, 91-yard drive – but couldn’t find a way to punch the ball into the end zone until there was just over three minutes to play. Set up by a Mike Daly interception, Masoli made a nice move to run it in himself.

But like all good things for the Ticats on this night, it was immediately followed by something insanely bad: this time it was an on-side kick that was returned for Calgary touchdown.

It was emotional win for the Stampeders after the shooting death of defensive back Mylan Hicks last weekend. The Ticats held a moment of silence and played the Star Spangle Banner before the game in honour of his passing. The Stampeders are now 12-1-1 and clearly the class of the CFL.

With the loss, the Ticats fall to 6-8 and will remain in second place in the East Division. But the question as the team heads into its second and final bye week: how badly hurt is Collaros?

Notes: Andy Fantuz had a big night with 15 catches for 130 yards… the Ticats lost a couple more Canadians to injury, including defensive tackle Mike Atkinson who was hurt in warm up and couldn’t play. Reserve defensive back Shane Herbert went down in the fourth quarter.

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