Zach Collaros threw three touchdowns in the first quarter to propel the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 42-31 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their first game of the Canadian Football League season Friday night.
It was the 16th time in the last 18 seasons that Hamilton has started the season 0-1.
Collaros threw for 354 yards and connected with Nic Demski, Rasheed Bailey and Drew Wolitarsky for touchdowns in the opening quarter to stake the Bombers out to a commanding 21-4 advantage.
In his first game as a Tiger-Cat, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell went 18-of-34 for 187 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and was sacked three times. Receiver Tim White hauled in the TD but appeared to suffer a right shoulder injury as he landed on the turf.
Running back James Butler also found the endzone in his first game as a Ticat when he scored on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 39-32.
In total, Hamilton committed six turnovers at IG Field in Winnipeg and the Bombers took advantage by scoring 17 points off those gifts. Winnipeg committed four turnovers.
The Ticats got touchdowns from their special teams unit when Carthell Flowers-Lloyd blocked a punt and Omar Bayless jumped on it in the endzone to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 32-10 in the third period.
Hamilton’s defence also found the endzone when defensive lineman Ted Laurent forced Collaros to fumble and the ball was picked up by Chris Edwards and scored a 62 yard TD. That trimmed the Bombers’ lead to 39-23 in the fourth quarter.
The Ticats will look to get into the win column on Father’s Day when they visit the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts.