Dane Evans threw two touchdown passes as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 42-12 on Friday night to remain unbeaten at home.
Hamilton (12-3) improved to 7-0 at Tim Hortons Field and remains the CFL’s lone remaining unbeaten club at home. Evans also improved to 7-2 as the Ticats starter since replacing incumbent Jeremiah Masoli (season-ending knee injury).
The Ticats also improved to 8-2 versus West Division clubs while moving closer to clinching top spot in the East Division. Hamilton will cement first _ and home-field advantage for the conference final _ if the Montreal Alouettes (7-6) lose to the Calgary Stampeders (9-4) on Saturday.
Evans finished 24-of-32 passing for 277 yards and two TDs before a crowd of 23,411. He failed to throw for 300 or more yards for the first time in five games.
David Watford cemented the win for Hamilton, his two-yard TD run at 7:32 putting the Ticats ahead 31-12. Then, for good measure, Richard Leonard had a 19-yard interception return TD, then Evans hit Bralon Addison for the two-point convert to make it 39-12.
Edmonton (7-8) suffered its fourth straight loss to Hamilton and fifth in six games overall. The Eskimos would’ve clinched a playoff berth with a victory.
Logan Kilgore was 23-of-32 passing for 233 yards with a TD and three interceptions. His nine-yard TD pass to Natey Adjei at 2:55 of the fourth pulled Edmonton to within 25-12 but Hamilton’s Delvin Breaux intercepted Kilgore’s two-point convert try.
C.J. Gable ran for 47 yards to boost his season total to 997, leaving him three yards of becoming the first Eskimos since Mike Pringle (2003-04) to register consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaigns. But Gable spent the fourth on Edmonton’s sideline.
Listen below: Highlights from the Eskimos’ game against the Tiger-Cats.
Sean Whyte cut Hamilton’s lead to 19-6 with a 31-yard field goal at 5:14 of the third but Lirim Hajrullahu put the Ticats ahead 25-6 with field goals of 24 and 33 yards at 11:01 and 15:00, respectively.
Brandon Banks and Jaelon Acklin had Hamilton’s touchdowns. Addison, with two, and Marcus Tucker added the two-point converts while Hajrullahu kicked four field goals.
Whyte booted two field goals.
At halftime, the Ticats added former safety Rob Hitchcock to their Wall of Honour. Hitchcock, a Hamilton native, played 12 seasons with the club (1995-06) _ winning a Grey Cup in 1999. He was joined on the field by many of his former teammates from that championship squad.
Evans staked Hamilton to a 19-3 half-time advantage with a 14-yard TD pass to Acklin at 7:43 of the second, then found Addison for the two-point convert. Frankie Williams’ 30-yard punt return put the Ticats at the Edmonton 31-yard line.
Hajrullahu’s 31-yard field goal 52 seconds into the quarter boosted Hamilton’s lead to 11-3.
Both teams scored on their first drives of the game. Hamilton opened with Banks’ five-yard TD grab at 3:26, then Evans found Tucker for the two-point convert.
Edmonton countered with Whyte’s nine-yard field goal at 9:50.