Kyle Myers | Ticats.ca Staff
GUELPH -- It finished in typical CFL fashion, and Kent Austin knew it.
“This league has the reputation it has because of what you see in games like today,” he said after the game..
The reputation he’s referring to is that no CFL game is over until the final whistle blows, and Saturday night in Guelph proved that, as an apparently-insurmountable Ticats lead eventually hinged on the final play of the game.
When the game clock struck zero, the game resulted in a Hamilton victory, as they defeated the B.C. Lions 37–29 to notch their second consecutive home victory.
“I’m just proud of the guys that we played well enough against a good football team to win the game,” Austin continued.
On a night where the offence scored four touchdowns, it was the Ticats defence who stole the show, weathering a late B.C. rally and preserving the victory.
"I thought that the game plan put together by (Defensive Coordinator Orlondo Steinauer) and his staff was outstanding,” Austin said. “They really put their players in a position to pressure a good quarterback, which we needed to do.”
The Tiger-Cats sacked Travis Lulay three times but brought him to the ground countless more, preventing him from getting into a rhythm until late in the fourth quarter. They did so with countless blitzes, which Austin saw as necessary when facing a player as durable and as crafty as Lulay.
“He gets the ball out of his hands and he reads coverages fast, and he’s unbelievably tough, so we knew we weren’t going to get a lot of sacks, but we needed to pressure him, hit him, hurry him, and we were able to do that tonight.”
Rookie safety Courtney Stephen had a team-high five tackles and recovered a Nick Moore fumble early in the third quarter.
“I just always try to stay around the ball,” said Stephen after the game. “That’s a credit to my teammates for making something happen for me. We play team defence, so someone has to scoop it: this time it happened to be me.”
That recovery would prove to be a big one, as quarterback Henry Burris would hit Greg Ellingson in the corner of the end zone on the very next play to extend the Ticats lead to 23. Burris threw four touchdowns on the night, and extended his streak of 300 yard passing games to four straight.
“We did a good job of taking what they gave us,” said Burris. “I expect us to do the things to come in and get big wins especially at home.”
There had been murmurs around the CFL about the quality of the Ticats’ wins – their four previous victories came against teams with a combined 2–17 record. After Saturday’s victory against a very good Lions team, running back C.J. Gable – who tallied 157 all-purpose yards and a score – smirked at the notion that the Ticats are a mere product of their schedule.
“What are they going to say about us now?”