A little redemption for Marquay McDaniel came at the right time for the Calgary Stampeders.
After dropping the ball early in the game, McDaniel hauled in a touchdown catch that lifted the Stampeders to a 26-22 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday.
Tiger-Cat quarterback Henry Burris achieved a career 50,000 passing yards in the CFL, joining Anthony Calvillo, Damon Allen, Danny McManus and Ron Lancaster in that elite club.
But the Stampeders (9-2) didn’t let their former quarterback have all the glory. Calgary stayed unbeaten at McMahon Stadium this season at 5-0.
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell connected with McDaniel on a 15-yard touchdown throw at 13:42 of the fourth quarter.
McDaniel was wide open steps from the end zone in the second quarter, but the ball sailed through his fingers.
“To get that one in the fourth when we really needed it, it kind of wiped that first one out,” McDaniel said with a chuckle.
Both Charleston Hughes and Cordarro Law sacked Burris on Hamilton’s final drive and Chris Randle intercepted his desperate throw to the end zone on the final play of the game in front of an announced 26,649.
“The defence has been playing like that all year,” McDaniel said. “They kept us in the game and made big stops when we needed it.
“Offence, we just kept plugging away. We knew we were close, we didn’t get down, we needed a touchdown at the end and made plays to get it.”
With the more veteran Kevin Glenn and Drew Tate not yet ready to play because of injuries, the 23-year-old Mitchell continued to prove he can win in the CFL.
The Texan won his third start and second in a row. Mitchell was 20 for 30 in passing for 252 yards and two touchdown throws. He was intercepted twice.
“Bo showed some excellent poise late in the game,” Calgary head coach John Hufnagel said. “I did enjoy my team hanging in there because things weren’t going great.”
Rene Paredes made all four field goals he attempted, making him 9 for 9 in his last two games. With 72 rushing yards, running back Jon Cornish surpassed 1,000 for a second straight season.
Burris earned the majority of his career yards while a Stampeder. The 38-year-old was Calgary’s quarterback for nine seasons, including seven as a starter, until he was traded to Hamilton in January 2012.
Burris also spent three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
He was 26 for 39 in passing for 408 yards and made touchdown throws to Andy Fantuz and Onrea Jones on Friday.
He was intercepted twice. C.J. Gable ran for a TD and punter Josh Bartel contributed a single for Hamilton (5-6).
Burris was 163 yards away from moving past Lancaster into fourth all-time in CFL passing.
“That’s something that at the end of the day I’ll look back and be thankful on, but right now it means nothing,” Burris said. “Of course, if we got a victory, we would have been thinking opposite about that.”
With his team leading 22-19 with just over three minutes remaining, Hamilton kicker Luca Congi’s 37-yard attempt hit an upright. Congi missed both field-goal attempts in the game.
Paredes pulled Calgary within three points on a 24-yard field goal to early in the fourth quarter. That drive started with punter Rob Maver faking the kick and throwing the ball to Matt Walter to keep the Stampeders on the march.
Paredes was good from 43 yards at 10:27 of the third after Gable’s four-yard rushing TD for Hamilton at 6:57.
Burris’s record-setting throw was a six-yard toss to Jones at 14:37 of the second quarter, which gave the Ticats a 15-13 lead heading into the second half.
Hufnagel had admonished Price in a previous game for slowing down to celebrate before the end zone, so Price cheekily ran the ball to Calgary’s dressing room door following his 80-yard touchdown catch at 5:41
“It was a little sarcasm in there,” said Price. “I just wanted to let Huf know that I’m listening.”
Calgary mustered just one field goal in the first half off a pair of long returns by Larry Taylor.
He ran a punt back 70 yards to open the second quarter, but Calgary couldn’t punch the ball in from the 10. McDaniel dropped Mitchell’s pass and then Calgary’s quarterback fumbled and turned over the ball over.
Paredes made his second of a pair of first-quarter field goals from 29 yards at 13:52 after Bartel’s 69-yard punt single at 8:47.
Congi was wide on a 47-yard attempt in the first quarter and Taylor race the ball 103 yards back to Hamilton’s 17-yard-line. The Stamps settled for a 15-yard field goal at 6:32.
A spectacular one-handed catch by Fantuz capped a 79-yard, four play scoring drive on the visitors’ first possession.
The Stampeders host the Toronto Argonauts and the Tiger-Cats are in Moncton, N.B., versus Montreal for the Atlantic Bowl next Saturday.