Saturday, August 15, 2015
TICATS 52 LIONS 22
Collaros threw four TD passes and Brandon Banks scored on a 96-yard punt return as Hamilton dismantled the B.C. Lions 52-22 Saturday night to improve to 10-0 at Tim Hortons Field. It was Banks' third return TD of the season.
But again Hamilton's defence anchored the win, registering four sacks and forcing four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions) while scoring twice. Defensive lineman Eric Norwood returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown and linebacker Erik Harris had a 30-yard interception return TD, marking seven times this season the unit has found the end zone (team record-tying six on interceptions, one fumble return).
The CFL single-season record for most interception return TDs is seven - set by Toronto in 2006 - while the most defensive touchdowns in a campaign is 11, set by B.C. in 1987. Hamilton (5-2) travels to Edmonton (5-2) next weekend for a showdown between division leaders and the league's top two defences.
"In all three phases we're playing well, we're excited for the opportunity in front of us to go out West and play a great Edmonton team,'' Collaros said. "I really have a lot of fun watching (Ticats defence) play.
"Sometimes I catch myself being a spectator. It's a lot of fun, it's exciting.''
Banks took Richie Leone's punt back at 7:20 of the second quarter to help Hamilton win its fourth straight. The Ticats also stormed out to a 21-0 first-quarter advantage en route to moving into a tie with Toronto (5-2) atop the East Division before an enthusiastic sellout gathering of 24,110.
Collaros cemented the win with a two-yard TD strike to Luke Tasker at 2:12 of the third to put Hamilton ahead 37-10. It was set up by Courtney Stephen's interception return to the B.C. 30-yard line.
Hamilton was minus top running back (C.J. Gable) and its two leading receivers (Andy Fantuz, Bakari Grant) due to injuries. But again the defence stepped up, holding CFL rushing leader Andrew Harris to 36 yards on eight carries. Harris also lost two fumbles.
"I've never been around it, honestly,'' Ticats coach/GM Kent Austin said of his high-scoring defence. "Let's just hope and pray we can keep that up because that really helps.
"They're finding way to turnovers and they're not just getting turnovers but they're flipping the field, they're scoring and they're giving us field position ... It's a big boost for us.''
After storming out to a 31-10 halftime advantage, Hamilton didn't let its foot off the gas against B.C. Last weekend, the Ticats went into a second-half lull against Winnipeg, earning a 38-8 victory after assuming a 31-0 lead at the half.
"I kind of admonished them at halftime to not come out, especially offensively, in the second half and have a lull again,'' Austin said. "It's a great credit that they learned from the previous week.''
B.C. (3-4) remained tied for third with Winnipeg (3-5) in the West Division as Lulay was 13-of-20 passing for 139 yards and a TD but also two interceptions. It's the fourth time in five games Lulay has been held to under 200 yards.