Tiger-Cats defeat Redblacks to register club-record 13th victory

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks (16) fends off Ottawa Redblacks linebacker Kevin Brown II (31) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Peter Power/CP)

HAMILTON — Dane Evans and Brandon Banks anchored a record-setting performance Saturday by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Evans’ 62-yard TD strike to Banks in the third quarter led Hamilton to a 33-12 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks. The victory was a fourth straight and club-record 13th this year for the Ticats (13-3), who have two regular-season contests remaining.

Hamilton also improved to 8-0 at Tim Hortons Field. That’s important given the Ticats have clinched first in the East Division and will host the conference final next month.

Banks had a TD for a fifth straight game while finishing with seven catches for 116 yards. Despite that, Hamilton was far from perfect Saturday however all Ottawa (3-13) could muster were four Lewis Ward field goals in dropping its ninth straight loss.

Evans found a streaking Banks at 14:26 of the third, putting Hamilton ahead 26-12 before a Tim Hortons Field gathering of 23,692 on a glorious fall afternoon.

Evans finished 32-of-41 passing for a career-high 452 yards with a TD and interception. He improved to 8-2 as Hamilton’s start since replacing incumbent Jeremiah Masoli (season-ending knee injury).

David Watford’s one-yard TD run at 7:33 of the third gave Hamilton a 19-9 advantage. It came after the Ticats successfully challenged a Sherrod Baltimore interception citing pass interference, which was called on Ottawa’s Corey Tindal Sr.

Hamilton took over at Ottawa’s 29-yard line after Richie Leone punted from the Redblacks’ two-yard line rather than surrender the safety.

Rookie Will Arndt was 17-of-30 passing for 112 yards in his second career start for Ottawa, which suffered its first loss in Hamilton since 2014. Arndt completed 28-of-42 passes for 288 yards with two TDs and three interceptions in the Redblacks’ 28-21 road loss to Toronto on Oct. 11.

Jalin Marshall scored Hamilton’s other touchdown. Lirim Hajrullahu had four field goals, a single and two converts.

Hajrullahu’s 38-yard field goal at 14:49 of the second earned Hamilton a 12-9 half-time advantage. That flattered the Ticats, who gave Ottawa plenty of opportunities to take a lead into the intermission but all the Redblacks managed from an interception and blocked punt were two field goals.

Ottawa also had a Leone completion on a fake punt nullified by penalty.

Ward’s 27-yard boot at 12:30 of the second pulled the Redblacks to within 9-6 following Marco Dubois’ recovery of a blocked Hajrullahu punt at the Hamilton 25-yard line. Ward then made it 9-9 with a 56-yard field goal at 13:53, the longest in Ottawa’s football history.

Evans countered by driving Hamilton 45 yards on five plays to set up Hajrullahu’s go-ahead field goal.

Hajrullahu’s 33-yard field goal at 2:54 pushed Hamilton’s lead to 9-3. It was set up by Jumal Rolle’s recovery of an onside kick at the Ticats’ 50-yard line.

Ward opened the scoring with a 40-yard field goal at 9:54 of the first set up by De’Chavon Hayes’ interception. Marshall put Hamilton ahead 6-3 with a five-yard TD run at 13:14 as the two-point convert attempt was unsuccessful.

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