The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are going to the Eastern Final in style after mauling the B.C. Lions 48-8 Sunday afternoon at Tim Hortons Field.
The Ticats raced out to a 28-0 lead at halftime, thanks in large part to their defence and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.
Hamilton’s defence forced four turnovers, including defensive end Adrian Tracy’s fumble recovery on B.C.’s first play from scrimmage, and scored 28 points off those turnovers.
Masoli led Hamilton to touchdown drives on the team’s first three possessions to become the first team to do so since the 1985 East Semifinal, when the Tiger-Cats blasted Montreal 50-26.
Masoli threw for 245 yards in the first half and tossed two TDs to Luke Tasker.
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Hamilton’s opening major came on an unusual play. On third-and-1, backup QB Dane Evans lunged towards the goal line and fumbled the football but offensive lineman Kevin Palmer jumped on the loose ball and was credited with the touchdown.
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Lions quarterback Travis Lulay struggled mightily, completing just eight of his 17 pass attempts for 103 yards and was intercepted by Frankie Williams who ran 39 yards for Hamilton’s fifth touchdown of the game.
Jonathan Jennings came in and led B.C. to the Hamilton one yard line, but a high snap was collected by Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence and he ran the ball all the way to the B.C. one yard line. Evans punched it in on the next play to make it 44-0 Hamilton.
B.C. finally landed on the scoreboard when Jennings and receiver Shaq Johnson combined on a 30 yard major. The two-point conversion was good when Jennings and Burnham connected.
It was the final game in the storied career of B.C. Lions head coach Wally Buono, who retires as the CFL’s all-time winningest coach with 282 victories.
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The Tiger-Cats will visit the Ottawa Redblacks in the Eastern Final on Nov. 18.
Hamilton has lost all three of its games against Ottawa this season.