Eskimos come on late to dump Ticats
The tandem of Ricky Ray and Kelly Campbell combined in the fourth quarter to lift the Edmonton Eskimos to a 19-13 road win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
Quarterback Ray threw to Campbell for an 11-yard score midway through the fourth quarter and then hooked up with the receiver again to set up a Noel Prefontaine field goal for the game's last points.
Prefontaine was perfect on four field goal attempts and also gained a first down early in the game with a third-down run.
The Eskimos had to rally after watching wide receiver Jason Tucker being taken off the field into an ambulance after a scary collision late in the third quarter with Hamilton's Jykine Bradley.
"I thought we handled this with the utmost professionalism and it showed tonight," said Edmonton coach Danny Maciocia . "We had to bear down and try to make a few plays and we did."
Maciocia said Tucker, 32, was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure and that he was able to move his fingers and legs while being strapped into the stretcher.
Hamilton quarterback Richie Williams drove his side down into Edmonton territory in the waning seconds, but his last attempt was intercepted by Bradley Robinson.
Williams was in for Casey Printers, who injured his thumb in the third quarter.
Hamilton (1-4) falls into a tie with Winnipeg for the last spot in the CFL East.
Jesse Lumsden accounted for the team's only major on Friday, rumbling in for 29 of his 55 yards on the ground early in the fourth. Lumsden was back in the lineup after missing the last game with a right knee injury.
"I thought we'd take the momentum then and get back in the game," said Hamilton head coach Charlie Taaffe. "But to their credit, they took it down the field and responded … it's very disappointing."
The Ticats have gone five games without a touchdown pass.
The game was a defensive struggle for more than three quarters, with 20 of the 32 points scored in the final frame.
Early in the game, Tucker survived a wallop from Hamilton defensive back Ryan Glasper.
At the other end, Dario Romero was among those hassling Printers, recording two sacks. Edmonton would record eight sacks on the night.
Hamilton had gained just 14 yards of total offence after the first quarter, but they were kept in the game by their secondary, which thwarted many of Ray's attempts.
Edmonton took a 6-3 lead into the half, with Hamilton lineman Dominic Lewis sacking Ray late in the second to help prevent a bigger deficit.
Printers engineered a tying drive that Williams ended up finishing in the third. Printers threw big completions to Lumsden and Jo Jo Walker to set up Nick Setta's 16-yard field goal.
Ray combined with Kamau Peterson, Fred Stamps and Campbell to put the Eskimos in great shape late in the third, but Bradley intercepted his pass near the goal line.
Despite the lengthy delay following Tucker's injury, Prefontaine was unfazed in making a field goal attempt on the game's very next play. Prefontaine booted it through from 29 yards for a 9-6 score.
Williams found Prechae Rodriguez early in the fourth for a 46-yard completion to set up Lumsden's score.
Ray and the Eskimos immediately replied. Peterson came up huge on the drive to set up Campbell's score, hauling in four of his eight receptions on the night.
Ray found Campbell for a 36-yard play late in the fourth, with the receiver incurring a face mask penalty to momentarily halt Edmonton's progress. Prefontaine's field goal put the Eskimos up 19-13.
"We were very inaccurate the first half and a lot of that was my fault out there," said Ray. "We were able to put some good drives together in that second half. … We adjusted some things at halftime, trying to throw the ball underneath a little bit more."
Ray finished with 356 yards passing on 28 of 47 passing.
Williams again hooked up with Rodriguez, this time for 47 yards, but Hamilton could not complete the comeback.
With files from the Canadian Press