HAMILTON – It was a familiar play for Dan LeFevour — a quarterback sneak for the one-yard touchdown — and it gave the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the lead for good.
The 27-year-old out of Central Michigan got his first CFL start Saturday night and led his Ticats to a 33-23 win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS at McMaster University’s Ron Joyce Stadium.
LeFevour, in his third year with Hamilton, had spent last season as the short yardage quarterback behind star Henry Burris, executing that very same play time and again — rushing for seven TDs in 2013.
Now he was the starter, going toe-to-toe with Burris who was at the helm of the REDBLACKS.
“I slept well, I really did,” he said when asked about any pre-game nervousness. “I had a good week of practice. I felt a lot better about it after Day 2 and 3. (Game day morning) I went over the game plan one more time. I knew that I knew what I was doing.”
LeFevour was Hamilton’s third starting quarterback in as many weeks. Hamilton No. 1 Zach Collaros, signed in the off-season, went down in Week 2 with a helmet-to-helmet collision and he is still recovering from a head injury. Jeremiah Masoli got the call last week against Calgary, but was pulled midway through and replaced by LeFevour.
“The quarterback sneak? No big deal,” LeFevour said when asked about his short yardage specialty. “I just wish C.J. (Gable) would have . . . finished it.”
The one-yard score was set up when LeFevour evaded the Ottawa blitz by dumping the ball off to Gable, who then ran 83 yards to the Ottawa two-yard-line. A horse-collar penalty on the tackle placed the ball at the one, and LeFevour finished the job off two plays later, reaching over the top of the pile when it looked like he had been stopped short.
That gave the Ticats a 30-23 lead with 9:44 left in the game.
LeFevour ran the ball himself three times for a total of 17 yards late in the game to set up Justin Medlock’s game-sealing 32-yard field goal and give Hamilton its first win of the season.
LeFevour completed 21 of 30 pass attempts for 361 yards, one interception and one TD pass. He was the game’s leading rusher with 109 yards on 13 carries, including a 34-yard scamper, and the one TD.
He admitted he was probably too anxious in the first half and ran too much. By the end of the first half, he was able to slow the game down.
“Early in the game, I think I was just too happy to run,” he said. “(I was) going too quickly through my progressions.”
LeFevour was asked repeatedly about how he felt going up against his former teammate, Burris.
“It was great to see him,” he said. “It had nothing to do with playing against Hank. It was great to see him and great to talk to him after the game. I love the guy.