Ti-Cats beat Als in OT to reach East Final
Guelph, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Dan LeFevour's 2-yard touchdown run lifted the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a 19-16 overtime win over the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division semifinal of the 101st Grey Cup playoffs.
Trailing 10-6 with just over 5 1/2 minutes left, the Tiger-Cats took over on their own 3-yard line. Henry Burris and running specialist LeFevour methodically drove down to the Alouettes' 46.
Burris' pass on 1st-and-10 fell incomplete, but he was able to find Andy Fantuz on 2nd-and-long for a 12-yard gain.
After a 10-yard completion got Hamilton inside the Montreal 25, LeFevour picked up two yards on a run. Burris came back into the game and hit Fantuz for a five-yard gain, leaving the Tiger-Cats with a 3rd-and-3 situation.
Burris turned to C.J. Gable, who was able to run it in for the 17-yard score.
" Henry has a lot of experience in that position. We told him we were going to empty it out and he'd have to find his receivers. We trusted him and he came through for us," said Tiger-Cats head coach George Cortez.
The Alouettes benefited from a short kickoff and six plays later Sean Whyte split the uprights from 32 yards out as time expired to force overtime.
Montreal couldn't pick up a first down on the opening drive of overtime and settled for a 34-yard Whyte field goal.
After converting on 3rd-and-inches twice, LeFevour ran through a hole on the left side and broke a tackle before he was dragged down at the two. LeFevour then followed his center into the end zone for the win.
"We played to win. I trust our short yardage offense. We played a really good football team today. They played well, you have to give credit to them," said Cortez.
Hamilton will face the 2012 Grey Cup winner Toronto Argonauts next week in the East Division Final.
Burris finished 23-for-36 passing for 204 yards, one touchdown and an interception while LeFevour finished with 61 yards on 18 rushes for the Ti- Cats.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, who took over at quarterback for the Alouettes just four weeks ago, struggled with the windy conditions, completing just 14-of-26 passes for 142 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
"It is very difficult, losing is not very good. You work hard to achieve your goals, and we didn't do that. It is a lousy way to end the season," Smith said.
Tyrell Sutton rushed for 142 yards on 21 carries and Duron Carter caught two passes for 32 yards and a score in the setback.
The Alouettes used a pair of singles in the first quarter to take a 2-0 lead.
After driving down to the Tiger-Cats' 33, Smith's pass fell incomplete and Montreal settled for a Whyte field goal attempt. Whyte, though, pushed the field goal wide right, but Montreal kept Hamilton from returning it for the single.
Burke Dales' booming 62-yard punt got the Alouettes another single moments later.
The Tiger-Cats got down to the Alouettes' 41 on the opening drive of the second half, but Luca Congi missed a 56-yard try.
Hamilton's Emanuel Davis, though, forced a fumble on the next play, and after failing to convert on 2nd-and-long, Congi connected from 29-yards out to give the Tiger-Cats a 3-2 lead 3:15 into the third quarter.
Brandon Banks returned a punt to the Montreal 31 and three plays later Congi drilled a 35-yarder for a 6-2 Tiger-Cats edge.
Smith's 29-yard touchdown pass to Carter put Montreal back on top 9-6 with just over four minutes to go in the third.
Dales' punt early in the fourth was good for a 55-yard single.
The Ti-Cats went 2-1 against Montreal in the regular season .. Wide receivers Luke Tasker and Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, running back Chevon Walker and linebacker Erik Harris were all inactive for Hamilton ... Montreal lost to Toronto in the East Division Final last season ... The Alouettes outgained the Ti-Cats 305-291 in total yards.
11/10 17:15:18 ET