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LeFevour defeats Ottawa with arm and legs

Jul 27, 2014 - 3:35 AM Hamilton, ON ( - In his first career start, quarterback Dan LeFevour passed for 361 yards and ran for another 109 as he guided the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to their first win of the season, a 33-23 final against the Ottawa RedBlacks at McMaster University's Ron Joyce Stadium.

The only player in NCAA history with at least 12,000 career passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards, LeFevour put his best foot forward on Saturday as he helped the Tiger-Cats (1-3), playing their first game in Hamilton in 637 days, snap a three-game slide to start off the campaign. The quarterback carried the ball 13 times and converted 21-of-30 passing, leading to one touchdown and an interception.

"It's a relief, because 1-3 sounds a lot better than 0-4," LeFevour said of his first experience as a starter. "When I started the game I was going through my progressions way too fast, so I slowed them down and that helped."

Running back Chris Gable ran for 62 yards and also caught three passes for another 105 for the Tiger-Cats. Kicker Justin Medlock converted all four of his field goal attempts for the hosts.

Henry Burris, the quarterback for Hamilton the two previous years before being picked up by Ottawa (1-3), threw touchdowns to Matt Carter and Marcus Henry in the first half, but was ineffective the rest of the way as the RedBlacks bowed for the third time in four games. Burris connected on 27 of his 44 passes for 290 yards and an interception. Henry finished with a game-high 10 receptions for 138 yards.

"I was just happy to get this game over with," Burris said of his return to Hamilton. "We had more than enough opportunities to put the game away, and we let them hang around and they were able to put points on the board. We could have had two wins against an Eastern (Division) opponent and that would have really given us our mojo for next week when we play Saskatchewan."

Hamilton opened the game's scoring almost immediately when LeFevour tossed a shovel pass to Brandon Banks who streaked 53 yards to the end zone less than a minute into the contest.

Burris and the RedBlacks countered with a 10-yard scoring pass to Carter, capping a 13-play, 96-yard drive that consumed more than six minutes off the clock.

Gable had just one carry for the Ticats in the first quarter, but it was good for a 47-yard major, moving the hosts out to a 14-7 advantage after 15 minutes of action.

Once more Ottawa responded, this time with a 19-yard TD strike from Burris to Henry, finishing off yet another lengthy drive of 11 plays. Following a fake punt, the RedBlacks managed to move the ball within the shadows of the goal post, but had to settle for a 10-yard field goal by Brett Maher.

Like Ottawa, the Tiger-Cats were able to move the ball deep into enemy territory with the second quarter winding down, but they too had to settle for a short field goal, a 12-yard conversion by Medlock.

On the ensuing possession, Burris pressed his luck down the field and ended up tossing his first interception of the season to defensive back Craig Butler. Hamilton capitalized with a 36-yard Medlock field goal to give the hosts a three-point edge at intermission, 20-17.

Both defenses dug in their heels in the third quarter, allowing just a single field goal on each side. Maher's 38-yard effort tied the meeting at 20-20, while an 18-yard conversion by Medlock again gave Hamilton the three-point edge heading into the final frame.

With 10:20 remaining in the contest, the RedBlacks had a positive drive stalled and had to settle for a 24-yard Maher field goal to lock the score at 23-23.

With just over six minutes remaining in regulation, Gable took a short screen pass and turned it into a huge 82-yard play, with added yards tacked on for a horse-collar tackle inside the five-yard line. On first down LeFevour was taken down short of the end zone, but he was able to lean over the goal line on the next play to give the 'Cats a 30-23 advantage, following a successful PAT.

After turning the ball over on downs, Ottawa's defense headed back out onto the field and, while the RedBlacks kept the hosts out of the end zone, they could not prevent Medlock from knocking through a 32-yard field goal to give Hamilton a double-digit cushion.