History has been made in the Hammer.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats reached 13 regular season victories on Saturday afternoon for the first time in franchise history following a 33-12 win over the hapless Ottawa Redblacks.
The Ticats were led by emerging quarterback Dane Evans, who completed 32-of-41 passing for 452 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The 25-year-old improved to 8-2 as a starter with the victory.
Hamilton has two games remaining to improve on its league-best 13-3 record. The organization has reached 12 wins on two previous occasions, finishing 12-5-1 in 1998 and 12-6 in 1989. The Ticats reached the Grey Cup in both seasons, but failed to capture either title.
The Tiger-Cats entered Saturday’s game as 17.5-point favourites, the largest spread of the CFL season. Hamilton led just 12-9 at halftime, but blew the game open on a 60-yard touchdown reception from Brandon Banks in the third quarter.
Ottawa quarterback Will Arndt struggled in the second start of his career, completing 17-of-30 pass attempts for 112 yards. He was sacked three times and fumbled the football on the final play of the game.
The Redblacks’ offence recorded only three first downs in the first half and finished the game with just 162 net yards. All of Ottawa’s points came courtesy of Lewis Ward field goals, including a franchise record 56-yard boot.
Local product Brendan Gillanders led the team in rushing with 50 yards on eight carries.
Hamilton will visit the Montreal Alouettes (9-7) next week before finishing the regular season at home against the Toronto Argonauts (3-13). Neither game has an impact on the standings, as the Tiger-Cats have already locked up first place.
Ottawa (3-13) plays in Toronto next week before hosting the second-place Alouettes in Week 21.