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Ticats defeat Alouettes, clinch Eastern Division

Nov 9, 2014 - 1:01 AM Hamilton, ON ( - Zach Collaros threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats clinched their first Eastern Division title since 1998 by defeating the Montreal Alouettes, 29-15, at Tim Hortons Field.

Collaros completed 20-of-28 passes with an interception and added 35 yards rushing for Hamilton (9-9), which will receive an all-important first-round bye in the playoffs. Nic Grigsby rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and Brandon Banks caught five passes for 65 yards and a score.

"Going from a 1-6 start to first place feels great," Hamilton coach Kent Austin said. "We had 12 straight games with no breaks and (for the team) to finish the way they did is a testament to them and our staff."

For Montreal (9-9), Jonathan Crompton was 18-of-35 passing for 284 yards and a touchdown, with S.J. Green (four receptions, 103 yards) and Brandon London (four receptions, 87 yards) acting as his top receivers. The Alouettes are still playoff bound and will play either BC or Saskatchewan on Nov. 16.

Hamilton got on the board on the first drive of the game on a 19-yard field goal by Justin Medlock. The only other score of the opening quarter came on a Medlock single.

The Ticats extended their lead less than six minutes into the second quarter when Brandon Stewart recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, as the hosts went ahead, 11-0.

Montreal chipped into its deficit with a pair of Sean Whyte field goals, a 23- yarder and a 30-yarder, before the half was out.

Hamilton extended its lead to 14-6 early in the third quarter following a 23- yard field goal by Medlock.

The Ticats pulled away early in the fourth quarter when Collaros tossed a 15- yard touchdown pass to Banks.

Whyte knocked through a 12-yard field goal for the Alouettes with just over seven minutes to play.

Hamilton sealed the victory with just over three minutes left when Grigsby rushed in a 6-yard score.

In the final few minutes of action, Hamilton added a single and Montreal scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Crompton to Duron Carter.

"We didn't win but we are in the playoffs," Collaros said. "It's bitter sweet. We have to come in and work this week and just get ready for next week.

Game Notes

Hamilton, which needed an eight-point margin of victory to win the division, will host the Eastern Final on Nov. 23 ... With the Ticats' win, Toronto was eliminated from playoff contention.