A touchdown pass from Dane Evans to Tim White with 19 seconds remaining gave the Hamilton Tiger-Cats their first win of the season, a 25-23 decision against the winless Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday in Hamilton.
The winning play came on third and goal after the Ticats had turned the ball over twice on third down.
Redblacks (0-5) defensive back Hakeem Bailey intercepted a third-down pass at his goal line with 1:45 remaining.
WATCH l Ti-Cats edge Redblacks to get in win column:
But after Hamilton’s defence held to get the ball back, Dane Evans and the Ticats offence swiftly marched the ball down the field before 20,411 at Tim Hortons Field for the winning score.
It appeared Hamilton was going to score on their previous possession. An 88-yard punt return from Lawrence Woods gave the home side a first-and-goal situation. But Bailey intercepted a short pass attempt from Hamilton’s backup quarterback Matt Shiltz with 1:45 remaining.
Redblacks quarterback Caleb Jones scored his second short-yardage rushing touchdown to give the visitors a 23-18 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
The Redblacks overcame an eight-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter. Defensive lineman Davon Coleman sacked Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans to force a fumble at the Ticats’ 24-yard line.
Jones then scored on a one-yard plunge, but the two-point conversion failed to give Ottawa a 23-18 lead.
The Redblacks played their first game without injured quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. The former Ticats pivot is out 10 to 12 weeks with a knee injury.
The Redblacks scored on their first possession. Caleb Evans, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday, hit receiver Jaelon Acklin for a six-yard touchdown. A 26-yard Evans to Acklin connection set up the score.
Hamilton punter Michael Domagala checked in with a 60-yard single, while Redblacks kicker Lewis Ward nailed a 20-yard field goal to provide a 10-1 advantage for the visitors after the opening quarter.
New Ticats receiver Anthony Johnson, a University of Buffalo product who had NFL experience with the Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fumbled a 49-yard reception in the first quarter.
Right down to the wire!<br><br>A hair short of the crossbar and the <a href=”https://twitter.com/Ticats?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Ticats</a> escape by the skin of their teeth 😳<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/CFLGameday?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#CFLGameday</a> <a href=”https://t.co/qfL5Me2gVc”>pic.twitter.com/qfL5Me2gVc</a>
Hamilton moved the ball effectively in the second quarter. Head coach Orlondo Steinauer kept the Redblacks defence alert by employing Dane Evans and Shiltz at quarterback.
Domagala hit a 40-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Shiltz scored on a two-yard run, and Dane Evans hit Johnson for a 15-yard strike to give Hamilton an 18-10 lead at halftime.
Johnson’s first CFL touchdown was set up by a brilliant one-handed catch from Steven Dunbar for a 36-yard gain.
The Redblacks scored, once again, on their opening drive of the second half with a one-yard scamper from Caleb Evans.
However, the Ticats 18-17 lead lasted well into the fourth quarter as offences stumbled for a stretch.