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OTTAWA – It was a warm welcome back for Bo Levi Mitchell as he helped the Hamilton Tiger-Cats find victory on the road.
The Ticats defeated the red-hot Ottawa REDBLACKS on Friday night, 16-12, but it was Hamilton’s defence that stepped up to keep Dustin Crum at bay after the REDBLACKS secured back to back OT wins coming into their game at home.
Mitchell threw for 353 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions in the win as Kai Locksley grabbed two receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown while D’haquille Williams grabbed five receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Malik Carney led the defence with five tackles and two sacks while Jameer Thurman added seven tackles and Tre’ Crawford added two more sacks.
Crum threw for 148 yards and an interception in the loss while rushing for 82 yards on the ground. Justin Hardy led the REDBLACKS with 55 receiving yards and Frankie Griffin led the defence with 11 tackles and an interception.
The REDBLACKS would get on the board first in front of their home crowd as Lewis Ward kicked a 49-yard field goal to get the action started.
Bo Levi Mitchell responded in his return for the first time since Week 2 after he was injured in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Toronto Argonauts.
Mitchell connected with D’haquille Williams for a five yard touchdown to put the Ticats ahead by three points after a missed extra point attempt.
With the momentum on their side the Ticats extended their lead as Lieggho got his redemption on a 25-yard field goal to extend their lead with less than a minute to play in the half.
But the REDBLACKS would close the gap back down to three points to close the half as Lewis Ward once again came in clutch with a 40-yard kick in the dying seconds of the half.
In a defensive battle with both teams turning the ball over on downs and each quarterback giving the ball back to the other side, with Crum getting sacked seven times by the Ticats defence, making it hard to generate any big offensive plays with the defensive line swarming.
With Ottawa unable to convert on the ground, Ward’s big night continued into the third quarter as he kicked his longest field goal of the night, putting a 54-yard kick through the goalposts to tie the game up early in the third quarter.
Mitchell would prove that he and the Ticats could find the end zone once again in this game, finding Kai Locksley for a 75-yard score to increase Hamilton’s lead to seven points with time expiring in the third quarter.
With the opportunity to score back in their hands, the REDBLACKS could not generate the offence needed to tie the game and had to settle for a 12-yard field goal halfway through the fourth quarter.
A final drive in Ticats territory would end in a turnover on downs with Hamilton able to secure their third win of the season and stop the REDBLACKS on their hot streak.
But even in the win, Mitchell went down with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter after just coming off the injured list.
The Ticats (3-4-0) will head home and host the Montreal Alouettes in Week 8 action on Saturday, August 5 at Tim Hortons field, while the REDBLACKS (3-4-0) will go out on the road against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at 7:00pm on Sunday, August 6 at Mosaic Stadium.