The Hamilton Tiger-Cats handed the Saskatchewan Roughriders their fifth straight loss with a 38-13 CFL victory on Saturday at Mosaic Stadium.
The victory improves the Tiger-Cats’ record to 8-8-0 and moves them into a tie for second place in the East Division with the Montreal Alouettes. At 8-7-0, the Alouettes have a game in hand on the Tiger-Cats. Both teams have clinched playoff berths and are now playing for the right to host the East Division semifinal on Nov. 4.
The loss drops the Riders to 6-10-0. Saskatchewan is in third place in the West Division, four points ahead of the 4-11-0 Calgary Stampeders.
The Tiger-Cats dominated the first half, taking a 25-9 lead while rolling up 345 yards of net offence. Bo Levi Mitchell and Matt Shiltz combined to go 12-of-18 passing for 276 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Omar Bayliss caught two TD passes in the first half, a 10-yarder from Mitchell followed by a nine-yarder from Shiltz, who also connected with Sean Thomas Erlington on a seven-yard scoring pass.
Third-string quarterback Kai Locksley scored on a one-yard run with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Hamilton its final margin of victory.
Shiltz finished the contest 16-of-19 for 271 yards, combining with Mitchell to give the Tiger-Cats 400 yards passing on the night.
Hamilton running back James Butler rushed for 105 yards on 25 carries. He now has 1,047 yards rushing. Butler has broken the 1,000-yard mark for two straight seasons, having rushed for 1.060 yards in 2022 for the B.C. Lions.
March Liegghio had three field goals for the Tiger-Cats.
Mitchell was playing in his first game since suffering a fractured right leg on July 28 in a 16-12 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks. He had surgery on July 30 and was placed on the six-game injured list. He played the first quarter against the Riders, completing four of six passes for 129 yards, including an 88-yard completion to Tim White.
The Riders’ offence struggled in the half, being held to 168 yards of total offence. Running back Jamal Morrow was the lone bright spot, rushing for 75 yards on 11 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown run on a third-and-one gamble with 34 seconds left in the half. Morrow finished the contest with 120 yards rushing on 18 carries.
The Riders’ losing streak is reminiscent of last season when they finished a 6-12-0 campaign with seven consecutive defeats.
Both teams return to action on Oct. 13 with the Riders travelling to Calgary to face the Stampeders, while the Tiger-Cats host the B.C. Lions.