First place slips away

If there were any questions about Quinton Porter’s ability to lead Hamilton, the Ticats quarterback silenced his critics on Saturday.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats running back DeAndra Cobb comes up just short of goal line as he is tackled by Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Jason Goss in the dying moments on Saturday

Tiger-Cats 28 Eskimos 21

HAMILTON — If there were any questions about Quinton Porter’s ability to lead Hamilton, the Ticats quarterback silenced his critics on Saturday.

The second-year QB threw one touchdown pass and scored on a quarterback sneak with 46 seconds left in the game as the Tiger-Cats defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 28-21 in front of 19,206 on a rainy night at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

“It feels great,” said the 26-year-old starter, who has been pulled twice this season and replaced by veteran pivot Kevin Glenn.

“It doesn’t feel great because I’m proving anything, it feels great because this team is winning. We’re putting in all the work we can right now to get this team on track and now we’re 4-2. We’re right where we want to be.

“We know we’re a good team right now and if people want to keep questioning us, that’s fine.”

Porter’s one-yard run broke a tie game as the Ticats overcame a 12-point first-quarter deficit to win their second game in a row. He completed 26 of 37 pass attempts for 211 yards and no interceptions, while engineering scoring drives of 43, 75 and 93 yards.

The Ticats scored a touchdown off a pass, a rush, an interception return and a quarterback sneak. Running back DeAndra’ Cobb, defensive back Geoff Tisdale and receiver Chris Davis each scored for the Hamilton before Porter’s clincher.

Edmonton receiver Kamau Peterson caught a TD for the visitors, his first of the season.

Noel Prefontaine hit all four of his field-goal attempts: from 25, 10, 38 and 20 yards out for the Eskimos (3-3).

Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 335 yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions. Edmonton’s Fred Stamps led all receivers with 136 yards on seven catches and Calvin McCarty was Edmonton’s top rusher with 49 yards on nine carries.

Hamilton’s Cobb led rushers with 75 yards on 12 carries, while newly acquired Arland Bruce III led Ticat receivers with 78 yards on nine receptions.

“I think both teams were executing,” said Porter.

“It just came down to the end like that. We could play 10 times and probably go 5-5 with them. No team was dominating any aspect of the game. I think what was important for us was no turnovers.”

The Ticats were fumble- and interception-free on the soggy night while Edmonton recorded two interceptions and one fumble.

Edmonton coach Richie Hall seemed to agree.

“Whether we’re 4-2 or 3-3 the important thing to me is that we continue to play well, and despite what happened to us here, overall, I think we continued to play well,” he said.

“I’m still encouraged by our team. We’ve played well in the last three games and won two of them. We just didn’t win this one.”

Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille credited the bend-but-not-break efforts of his defensive squad to keep Edmonton out of the endzone for most of the night.

“They made plays when they had to and that’s what this league is all about,” he said.

He admitted to being a little nervous about Chris Thompson’s interception return in the second quarter, which he ran back 21 yards, then flipped the ball back to Tisdale at midfield who ran it in the remaining 48 yards for the TD.

“That was one of those: ‘No, no, no, no yes, yes, yes, yes’ (plays),” laughed Bellefeuille.

“I think that our players are intelligent enough to know when you can be aggressive and when not to be aggressive.”

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