Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros threw a career-best five touchdown passes in his return to Tim Hortons Field as the Tiger-Cats won their first home game this season, 53-7 over the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday night.
Hamilton improves to 4-4, snapping a two-game losing streak, and Saskatchewan falls to 1-7.
This was Collaros’s home debut after returning to action last week from a knee injury that kept him out for almost a year. Hamilton hadn’t played at home since July 7, a four-game stretch.
Collaros completed 23-of-30 pass attempts for 381 yards, five TDs and zero interceptions before being replaced by Jeremiah Masoli midway through the fourth.
Chad Owens scored two TDs for Hamilton. Andy Fantuz, Brandon Banks, Terrence Toliver and Luke Tasker each scored one.
Hamilton kicker Brett Maher was three for three on field-goal attempts, hitting from 22, 12 and 16 yards. Saskatchewan kicker Tyler Crapigna hit both attempts, from 43 and 24 yards.
Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant entered the game without having thrown an interception in 321 pass attempts, a league record. He threw four in this game, ending the streak at 323. He was replaced in the fourth by Mitchell Gale, who fumbled and threw an interception.
And for the record, Hamilton defensive end John Chick (a former long-time Roughrider) sacked his good friend twice.
Hamilton took a 27-4 lead into halftime. That was the Ticats’ first halftime lead since July 15 against Montreal when they led 5-4.
In the third, Crapigna’s 24-yarder made it 27-7, set up by a 55-yard opening kick return by Kendial Lawrence.
Hamilton responded with a 75-yard drive culminating with a 47-yard TD pass from Collaros to Toliver to go up 34-7.
Courtney Stephen intercepted Durant and the Ticats took over at the Saskatchewan 39. Collaros hit Owens with a 13-yard TD strike and a 41-7 lead.
A conceded safety by Saskatchewan made it 43-7 and backup quarterback Masoli finished the game for Hamilton. Saskatchewan backup Gale fumbled and threw an interception (to Dominique Ellis) late in the game. Maher’s 16-yard field goal made it 46-7. Tasker caught a one-yard pass from Masoli for the 53-7 final score.
In the first, Maher opened scoring with a 22-yard field goal to cap a 60-yard drive. Collaros added to that on their next possession with a wonky 39-yard TD pass that ended up in Fantuz’s hands after sailing by intended target Luke Tasker and then being tipped by Saskatchewan’s Kacy Rodgers. It was the first offensive TD scored by the Ticats in the first half since the season opener.
Emanuel Davis intercepted Durant and returned it to the Saskatchewan 35 to set up a 12-yard field goal by Maher and the 13-0 lead. Hamilton caught a break on that drive after it looked like Saskatchewan’s Justin Cox had intercepted Collaros in the end zone. Hamilton challenged and the interception was called back for illegal contact on a receiver on the other side of the field. Collaros threw two incomplete passes leading to the field goal.
Early in the second quarter, Collaros hit Banks streaking down the middle for a 58-yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead.
Saskatchewan answered with a 43-yard field goal by Crapigna and a 43-yard punt single by Bartel.
But Hamilton defensive end Adrian Tracy intercepted Durant and returned it to the Hamilton 50 late in the half. Collaros finished the Ticat drive with three seconds left, finding Owens for a five-yard TD strike and the 27-4 halftime lead.