Whyte’s field goal earns Lions 33-30 victory over Hamilton Tiger-Cats


Published October 14, 2023 at 6:46 am

Sean Whyte’s 48-yard field goal on the final play of regulation time earned the B.C. Lions a thrilling 33-30 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.

Whyte’s boot came after former Ticat quarterback Dane Evans engineered the final drive for injured starter Vernon Adams Jr. Evans completed all four passes he attempted for 42 yards.

Hamilton’s Marc Liegghio connected on a 48-yard field goal, which hit the upright and fell in, with one minute left in the game to make it 30-30.

Adams Jr’s five-yard scoring strike to Alexander Hollins at 1:06 of the fourth put B.C. ahead 30-24. Liegghio’s 30-yard field goal at 8:43 cut the Lions’ lead to 30-27.

The field goal came after Matt Shiltz’s 15-yard TD run came back due to a holding penalty.

B.C. (12-5) moved into a first-place tie with idle Winnipeg (12-4) in the West Division standings. But the Blue Bombers not only have a game in hand but also own the tiebreaker after winning the season series between the two teams.

B.C. defensive lineman Mathieu Betts earned his CFL-high 17th sack in the fourth quarter, tying the league’s single-season record for most sacks by a Canadian. The mark is held jointly by former Lion Brent Johnson and Winnipeg’s Jamaal Westerman.

Adams Jr. was 21-of-30 passing for 296 yards and the two TDs before being injured during Dexter Lawson Jr.’s interception return late in the fourth.

Shiltz completed 14-of-19 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. He also had three runs for 36 yards before a Tim Hortons Field sellout of 23,891, the club’s third this season.

The Lions win gave Montreal (9-7) second in the East Division and will host third-place Hamilton in the conference semifinal Nov. 4. The Alouettes visit the Edmonton Elks (4-12) on Saturday.

Veteran Bo Levi Mitchell made a second straight start for Hamilton but first this season at home. The 33-year-old Texan opened the second half, completing 13-of-19 passes for 135 yards with two TDs and an interception before giving way to Matt Shiltz.

Last week, Mitchell started Hamilton’s 38-13 road win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The two time Grey Cup champion and CFL MVP completed four-of-six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown before Shiltz came in and finished 16-of-19 passing for 271 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

B.C. evened the season series with Hamilton. The Ticats won 30-13 in Vancouver on Aug. 26.

Josh Woods, on a 46-yard interception return, and Dominique Rhymes had B.C.’s other touchdowns. Whyte booted four field goals and the converts.

Tim White, with two, and Terry Godwin II had Hamilton’s touchdowns. Liegghio added the converts and three field goals.

Whyte’s 42-yard field goal at 8:27 of the third put B.C. back ahead 23-21. But Lieggho’s 27-yard boot at 13:04 gave Hamilton a 24-23 advantage.

Shiltz’s seven-yard touchdown pass at 6:28 put Hamilton ahead 21-20 in driving rain. The Ticats’ 12-play, 90-yard drive was aided by Betts being flagged for contacting the kicker (on a punt) and unnecessary roughness on consecutive plays.

Whyte’s 36-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter gave B.C. a 20-14 halftime lead. Adams Jr. found Rhymes on an 11-yard TD pass but Rhymes was called for pass interference.

Mitchell pulled Hamilton to within 17-14 at 14:17 with an 11-yard touchdown pass to White. It capped a nine-play, 83-yard drive that featured an apparent fumble by Godwin II on a completion that B.C. recovered, prompting the Lions to challenge the incompletion call.

But not only was the challenge declined, Godwin II was credited with a six-yard catch.

Adams put B.C. ahead 17-7 with a five-yard touchdown pass to Rhymes at 10:46.

Mitchell hit Godwin II with a five-yard TD strike at 5:11 to cut B.C.’s lead to 10-7. It came after Woods put the Lions ahead 10-0 with his pick-six 22 seconds into the quarter, Mitchell’s 10th interception of the season.

Whyte opened the scoring with a 46-yard field goal at 11:58 of the first.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2023.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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