The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are Grey Cup bound after running away with CFL East final
HAMILTON—Dane Evans threw for 386 yards and a TD in his first CFL playoff start, leading the Hamilton Tiger-Cats past the Edmonton Eskimos 36-16 in the East Division final Sunday afternoon.
Hamilton, which finished the regular season with a CFL-best 15-3 record, advanced to its first Grey Cup game since losing the 2014 final to Calgary. The Ticats last won the title in 1999, the league’s second-longest drought.
Hamilton will play the Saskatchewan Roughriders or Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup game in Calgary next Sunday.
Evans finished 21-of-36 passing with an interception. More important, he improved to 10-2 as Hamilton’s starter before a sun-drenched Tim Hortons Field-record sellout of 25,177 that was predominantly clad in Ticats black and waved gold rally towels throughout.
Edmonton had a glorious chance to make it interesting when Godfrey Onyeka recovered Luke Tasker’s fumble at the Hamilton 36-yard line 2:30 into the fourth. But the Eskimos had to settle for Sean Whyte’s 30-yard field goal at 5:11 to cut the Ticats’ lead to 28-13.
David Watford cemented the Hamilton win with a two-yard TD run — his second of the game — at 8:09.
Hamilton’s Bralon Addison had seven catches for 130 yards while Brandon Banks registered four receptions for 100 yards and a TD. Banks didn’t play in Hamilton’s 46-27 East Division final loss to Ottawa last year because of injury.
Edmonton starter Trevor Harris, facing Hamilton for the first time this season, was 29-of-41 passing for 319 yards with a TD and two interceptions while being sacked three times. Harris completed 36 of 39 attempts — including a CFL-record 22 straight — for 421 yards and a TD in last weekend’s 37-29 East Division semifinal win over Montreal.
Edmonton was attempting to become the first crossover team to reach the Grey Cup since the concept was introduced in 1996. West Division teams are 0-5 all-time in the East Division final, with the Eskimos dropping to 0-3.
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