Late Tiger-Cats fumble gives Elks their first win of the season
HAMILTON — Tre Ford was in his happy place Friday in Hamilton.
The Edmonton Elks quarterback picked up a win in his first career CFL start 30 minutes down the Queen Elizabeth Highway from his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.
The Elks came from behind to beat the Tiger-Cats 29-25 in front of 20,233 at Tim Hortons Field.
« Coming back to Hamilton and seeing my whole family watching me get that first start and that first win was fantastic, » Ford said.
Among Ford’s supporters were his wife, parents, sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, his high school football coach AN Myer Secondary, his University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia, eight of his former college teammates and more. friends.
Ford was shaky at times as the Elks trailed 13 points early in the second half.
But the 2021 Hec Crighton Trophy winner who goes to Canadian college football’s most outstanding player threw a tie-breaking touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler early in the fourth quarter.
The winning game for the Elks (1-3) came with 1:38 to go when defensive back Scott Hutter tackled Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans and knocked the ball down.
Jalen Collins recovered for a 14-yard touchdown.
« I saw him tackle it and I thought, ‘Please kick the ball,' » Collins said. « All we needed was an opportunity to close the game. We fought all night. It was lousy. »
The winless Tiger-Cats started a season with four straight losses for the first time since 2017, when they started 0-8.
« I want to apologize to all the guys. I put the two home losses on me, » Evans said. « I just have to deal with it, and we win the game. »
Evans was 20 for 31 passing for 197 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted twice.
Ford’s numbers didn’t shine, though he rushed for 61 yards on six carries. The 24-year-old completed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
Edmonton’s defense helped with interceptions from Sheldon Brady and Matthew Thomas, as well as the crucial fumble recovered late in the game by Collins.
« Big thumbs up defense, » Ford said. « They won us that game. They did what, three or four turnovers? They did really well.
« I have room for improvement. I’m not going to complain because we won. But I’m going to go to the cinema to see what I can criticize and where I can improve. »
Hamilton chased the rookie with various blitzes in the first half.
« My legs are going to open things up for my arm, » Ford said.
Ford credited teammate and quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who started in Edmonton’s three losses this season, for advising him during the game on defensive reads.
« He’s been like this since day one, even though we’re competing for the job, » Ford said.
He admitted to being nervous early on as Hamilton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime.
« I’m always nervous on the first play of every game, » Ford said. « I think it’s a good thing because it means I care and want to win. »
Evans hit Steven Dunbar for a 21-yard strike and Lawrence Woods returned a 72-yard kickoff for Hamilton’s first-half touchdowns.
Kai Locksley of Edmonton scored on a one-yard dive.
Elks kicker Sergio Castillo hit two of his three field goal attempts, while Hamilton counterpart Michael Domagala hit all three and gave the Ticats a 33-yard lead with 3:10 left in the game. match.
« We’re not good enough right now, » Hamilton head coach Orlando Steinauer said. « We’re not performing at the level that needs to happen. We’re just not making the plays that we need to make. »