Ticats fall 32-25 to Alouettes in season finale

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will head into the post-season on a losing note after falling 32-25 to the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday afternoon.

The loss drops the Ticats to 7-11, their worst season under head coach Kent Austin and their lowest win total since 2008. Hamilton came into the game locked into second place in the division and will host the East Semi-Final against the Edmonton Eskimos next Sunday.

With their playoff fate decided, the Ticats sat a number of high profile players and kept starting quarterback Zach Collaros in the game for just under a quarter. He looked sharp, throwing for 134 yards on eight-of-12 passing and orchestrating two scoring drives.

It wasn’t all good news on the injury front, however. Canadian running back Mercer Timmis and national receiver Mike Jones both left the game with injuries, yet another blow to the team’s special teams units and Canadian depth.

It was the Alouettes’ special teams unit that opened the scoring, Stefan Logan returning a Brett Maher punt 86 yards for the score. Collaros put together his two scoring drives and Montreal responded with a touchdown pass as the Alouettes took a 14-6 lead into halftime.

The Ticats got a field goal from Maher, then a nifty defensive play from veteran linebacker Keon Raymond to take the ball away from Montreal receiver Nik Lewis. Jeff Mathews, who went the rest of the way in relief of Collaros, found newcomer Brian Tyms in the end zone and gave Hamilton their first lead.

Former Ticat Sam Giguere caught his second touchdown of the day to restore the Alouettes advantage but another play by the defence – a strip by Justin Capicciotti and recovery by Chris Davis – gave Hamilton great field position at the Alouette five yard line. One play later, Anthony Woodson ran it in and the Ticats led 25-21.

But Vernon Adams took the Alouettes 76 yards in three plays and took advantage of a pair of colliding Ticat defenders to connect with a wide open B.J. Cunningham for his third touchdown strike of the game. The Hamilton offence couldn’t get anything going in the last six-plus minutes.

The Alouettes finish the season with a 7-11 record – same as Hamilton – but are done for the year after losing the season series 2-1. The Ticats finish the season 3-6 at Tim Hortons and have lost four straight at home for the first time since 2006.

Hamilton will have to reverse that trend next week – or an inglorious regular season will be followed by a similarly disappointing playoff run.

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