Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat Edmonton Eskimos, advance to Grey Cup
Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback David Watford (6) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during second half CFL East Final football action against the Edmonton Eskimos in Hamilton, Ont., on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat out the Edmonton Eskimos in the Eastern Final Sunday afternoon to advance to the 107th Grey Cup.
Ticats quarterback Dane Evans threw for 386 yards and a touchdown in his first-ever CFL playoff start to lead Hamilton to their first Grey Cup appearance since 2014.
Hamilton ended their regular season with a record of 15-3, the best in the CFL. The Ticats are the eighth team in CFL history to finish the regular season unbeaten at home.
Evans finished 21-of-36 passing with an interception. More importantly, he improved to 10-2 as Hamilton's starter.
Edmonton had a chance to make it interesting when Godfrey Onyeka recovered Luke Tasker's fumble at the Hamilton 36-yard line 2:30 into the fourth. But the Eskimos had to settle for Sean Whyte's 30-yard field goal at 5:11 to cut the Ticats' lead to 28-13.
David Watford cemented the Hamilton win with a two-yard TD run — his second of the game — at 8:09.
A record 25,177 fans attended the East Division final, with most sporting Ticats' black and gold and waving rally towels throughout.
"This team and this city have always been one, and never more so today," said Paul Ranalli, a season ticket holder in an unbroken family line for 63 years and three generations, starting with his father Joe in 1956.
The Tiger-Cats last won the CFL title back in 1999 over the Calgary Stampeders. That's the leagues's second-longest drought next to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Hamilton will go on to play either the Saskachewan Roughriders or Winnipeg in the Grey Cup final next sunday.
With files from the Canadian Press.