Courtesy Hamilton Spectator:
The two-pronged quarterback attack just became a pitchfork.
After all the talk about Quinton Porter and Kevin Glenn, the game-winning touchdown pass was thrown by third-string and short-yardage quarterback Adam Tafralis. His 36-yard strike to Arland Bruce gave the Cats a 24-17 win over the Calgary Stampeders last night.
The winning play came with less than five minutes left in the game. Tafralis looked set to perform a quarterback sneak on second and short — he’d been stopped on third down the series before — but instead launched his rainbow to Bruce.
“I put it an area where Arland could make a play and he did the rest,” Tafralis said. “As soon as it left my hand, I knew it was a touchdown.”
The other quarterback played pretty well, too, though he was shaky early on. Porter, starting his first game since missing three with a knee injury, fumbled on his second play from scrimmage, setting up the Stamps’ first TD. He fumbled on the next series. He also threw an interception in the endzone — all in the first quarter.
“I was trying to do a little too much when nothing was there,” he said. “The flip side of that is there were some plays I made. When you come away from a win, it’s hard to question it too much.”
He wasn’t the only Ticat struggling. DeAndra’ Cobb coughed it up and Calgary’s Milt Collins ran it back 39 yards for a score and 14-3 Stampeder lead.
But head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said the team kept its composure on the sidelines.
“The one thing I did take solace in was that they weren’t moving the ball very well against us and the turnovers we had on offence, we were actually moving the ball,” Bellefeuille said. “I knew we were playing good defence and I knew we were moving the ball so there was no panic.”
And the second quarter saw the Stamps struggle. On the first play of the new frame, Markeith Knowlton blocked a Burke Dales punt and the Cats were set up at the Stamps’ 14-yard line. Hamilton could only muster a 13-yard Nick Setta field goal that cut the lead to 14-6.
He connected on a single and a 32-yarder to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.
Working against the wind in the third quarter, the Stamps controlled the ball for more than nine minutes, though they got just three points off a 17-yard Sandro DeAngelis field goal. The Cats entered the fourth quarter down 17-10.
But Porter connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Bruce less than three minutes into the final stanza and the game was all tied at 17. That set up the Tafralis-to-Bruce heroics.
Bruce finished with six catches for 105 yards and the two TDs. Porter went 19 for 30, 247 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“It’s a huge win,” Porter said. “We were 5-5 and this was probably a pivotal swing game for us. It says a lot about our character and personality.”
Bruce, meanwhile, said the team’s goal is clear:
“I get to look at 15 Grey Cup banners every day and that’s on my mind when I come to work.”
As for Tafralis, he doesn’t expect to be added to the starting QB debate as the Ticats prepare to face the Alouettes on Friday at Ivor Wynne.
“I wish,” he said with a grin.