Tiger-Cats 24 Stampeders 17
HAMILTON — Arland Bruce III waited patiently for his chance against the Calgary Stampeders on Friday night.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are glad he did.
The star receiver hauled in two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as Hamilton beat the Calgary Stampeders 24-17.
Hamilton (6-5) overcame two costly turnovers early to beat last season’s Grey Cup champions in front of 19,448 at a windy Ivor Wynne Stadium.
“You’ve got to remember, there’s four quarters in football,” said Bruce, who has become Hamilton’s deep threat after a mid-season trade from Toronto.
“You’ve got to be patient and let the game come to you. And that’s what the quarterback did. And being a receiver, I would be patient and wait ’til the game came to me.”
Bruce caught the winning TD on a 36-yard pass from Adam Tafralis. The third-string quarterback is routinely used on short-yardage plays, but with second-and-one and less than five minutes left, he instead stepped back to pass, catching Calgary off-guard.
Bruce also caught a 17-yard TD from starting pivot Quinton Porter to tie the game at 17-17 midway through the fourth.
Porter and Calgary quarterback Henry Burris both struggled to find their rhythm early. Burris couldn’t get anything going and Porter — who missed the last three starts with a sore knee — fumbled and threw an interception before getting things going in the fourth.
“From the very beginning I was feeling confident,” said Porter, shrugging off suggestions that he looked shaky in the first quarter. He finished 19-for-32 for 246 yards, one TD, one interception and a fumble deep in Hamilton territory.
“For the most part, I was making all the reads I could. If anything, I was trying to do a little too much when nothing was there.”
Turnovers put Hamilton in an early hole as Calgary scored twice in the first quarter, recovering two Hamilton fumbles to take a 14-10 lead into halftime.
This despite Burris going 2-for-10 passing for nine yards, with just 97 yards of total offence. Burris finished the game 10-for-26 pass attempts for 114 yards.
“I really can’t put it into words,” said Burris, the league’s top passer. “When we did get something going, we did things to shoot ourselves in the foot. We didn’t make enough plays tonight.
“This is an atypical offensive output. This isn’t something I expected because this was a big game for us here.”
The Hamilton defence contained the league’s top offence as the game wore on, and in a gutsy call with 2:09 left in the game, the Ticats converted a third-and-short on their own 13 to keep the ball away from Stampeders’ attack.
Burris and defensive back Milt Collins scored touchdowns for the Stampeders (6-5). Ticat kicker Nick Setta made three of four field-goal attempts, while Calgary counterpart Sandro DeAngelis hit on one of two attempts.
Hamilton’s fifth-straight home victory snapped Calgary’s three-game win streak.