Needing only four victories to match Don Mathews career mark for wins as a CFL coach, many observers expected BC Lions Head Coach Wally Buono to be half-way to the record after week two. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were the visitors Friday evening in BC Place; they gained an unexpected victory, leaving Buono, and the Lions with a surprising 0-2 win/loss record to start the season.
For the first time since June 18, 2004, Hamilton won the battle of the big cats in Vancouver with their 31-28 victory. Led by rookie Running Back DeAndra’ Cobb and Quarterback Quinton Porter on offence and former Lion Linebacker Otis Floyd on defence, the Tiger-Cats are one-third of the way to matching last season's three victories.
A 0-2 start by Hamilton would have fans questioning which direction the Ti-Cats were headed. However, the 1-1 start to the 2009 season now has the city wondering if this is the year they return to respectability in the East Division. In the last three seasons, the Ti-Cats have recorded 10 victories. In comparison, the Montreal Alouettes, the elite team in the East, have won 29 games.
Making his first start in the CFL due to injuries on the Ti-Cats, Cobb certainly impressed his new bosses with his efforts this week. Signed May 29th as a free agent and recently activated from the practise roster, he rushed for 100 yards and caught five passes for 75 yards out of the backfield; including his first CFL touchdown. The former Michigan State Spartan and Atlanta Falcon draft pick averaged 7.1 yards per carry in his debut.
As impressive as Cobb was on Friday night, the story of the game had to be former Leo, Otis Floyd. The 10-year CFL veteran played an integral role in the victory over his former squad. He spent the past five years in BC with the Lions but moved on to Hamilton, joining the team as a free agent this winter. He recorded his second career interception with less then 30 seconds on the game clock to seal the victory for his new club.
He also played an important role in Jeff Tisdale’s interception that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter, making the score 21-14 for Hamilton. Floyd zeroed in on BC Quarterback Buck Pierce and put the pressure on that led to the interception by Tisdale. In his CFL career, Floyd has 396 tackles and 30 sacks and Hamilton will need him to be solid on what has been a shaky defence in past seasons.
After dropping the season opener in Hamilton to the Toronto Argonauts 30-17, the Tiger-Cats and their 1-1 record are back home for week three to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. A 2-1 record headed into week four, when they head on the road to Montreal’s Molson Stadium, will have the Hamilton faithful talking playoffs for the first time in years. After years of struggles, the Tiger-Cats fans deserve a winner, perhaps this is their season to shine. Have a great sports day everyone.