Ottawa has emphatically punched its ticket to the 106th Grey Cup.
Quarterback Trevor Harris broke an Eastern Final record with six touchdown passes as the Redblacks throttled the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 46-27 Sunday afternoon to advance to the Canadian Football League’s championship game.
Harris completed 29 of his 32 pass attempts to 10 different receivers for 367 yards. His 90.6 completion percentage was also a playoff record.
LISTEN: The 5th Quarter
Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was intercepted three times in the game and went 28 of 41 for 315 yards, one touchdown pass and a TD run.
Ottawa opened the scoring when rookie Lewis Ward chipped an 11-yard field goal through the uprights. About eight minutes later, he added a 27-yarder to make it 6-3 after the first quarter. Lirim Hajrullahu scored Hamilton’s first points with a nine-yard field goal.
The first major mistake of the game was made by Hamilton’s Masoli. The East Division’s Most Outstanding Player nominee was intercepted by Ottawa’s Anthony Cioffi at the Hamilton 22, and one play later, Harris tossed a 22-yard touchdown to receiver Diontae Spencer. The Redblacks were successful on the ensuing two-point convert to make it an 11-point game, 14-3.
Masoli and the Tiger-Cats offence regrouped on their next possession, which started at their own 10-yard line. Hamilton drove down the field but had to settle for an 18-yard field goal by Hajrullahu. Ottawa answered right back when Harris threw his second TD of the game, a two-yard floater, into the hands of J.C. Beaulieu to give the Redblacks a 20-6 advantage.
Late in the first half, Masoli was intercepted again — this time by Jonathan Rose — who returned the ball 59 yards to the Hamilton nine-yard line. Harris found Spencer in the endzone on the next play to give the Redblacks a 27-6 lead.
Ticats receiver Bralon Addison caught a six-yard pass and was tackled late out of bounds at the Ottawa 45 by Rose, who also contacted an official as players on the Hamilton bench confronted him. Rose was ejected from the game, and Ottawa was penalized for 30 yards. Addison ended the game with a game-high 12 receptions for 129 yards.
Cats head coach June Jones called a timeout with no time left, allowing Masoli to throw a one-yard TD to Mike Jones to cut Ottawa’s lead to 27-13 at the half.
Harris opened the second half with an impressive drive, which culminated in an 11-yard TD toss to Marco Dubois that stretched Ottawa’s lead to 33-13. The Cats responded with back-to-back Hajrullahu field goals, from 44 and 15 yards, to cut the lead down to 14 points, 33-19.
Harris recorded his fifth touchdown of the game when he and running back Brendan Gillanders hooked up on a 33-yard touchdown to give the Redblacks a 39-19 lead with under two minutes to play in the third quarter.
Harris broke the record for TD passes in the Eastern Final with his sixth of the game when he and receiver Greg Ellingson combined for a 50-yard major to make it 46-19 Ottawa. It was one of Ellingson’s eight catches on the day for a game-high 144 yards.
Masoli scored on a 12-yard TD run, and Hamilton made good on the ensuing two-point convert to cut Ottawa’s lead to 46-27. Tiger-Cats running back Alex Green had 12 carries for 52 yards, while William Powell led Ottawa’s ground game with 86 yards on 21 carries.
The Redblacks will face Calgary in the Grey Cup on Nov. 25 in Edmonton after the Stampeders defeated Winnipeg 22-14.