REGINA — Backup quarterback Jeff Mathews' one-yard touchdown plunge midway through the fourth quarter put Hamilton ahead for good as the Tiger-Cats handed the Saskatchewan Roughriders a 31-21 loss on Sunday at Mosaic Stadium.
The loss kept the Riders (0-5) winless to start the 2015 CFL season. The Tiger-Cats improved to 2-2.
Mathews' score gave Hamilton a 26-21 lead. Zach Collaros added the two-point convert when he found Bakari Grant in the back corner of the end zone for 28-21 advantage with seven minutes to go.
The Riders were forced to pin their hopes of a come-from-behind win on rookie quarterback Brett Smith, who filled in for an injured Kevin Glenn at the start of the final quarter. The Riders had a 21-20 lead when Smith entered the game.
Justin Medlock kicked his fifth field goal of the game, a 40-yard boot, to give Hamilton a 10-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Saskatchewan took the lead on its first offensive possession of the game when Paul McCallum kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Hamilton responded with a 42-yard touchdown reception by Jasper Collins Jr., and a pair of field goals from Medlock before the Riders tied the score late in the second quarter.
Glenn hooked up with Rob Bagg on a 20-yard touchdown catch. Glenn found Bagg again for the two-point convert as the teams went into halftime tied 14-14.
The Riders took the lead with their first possession of the second half when Smith scored on a one-yard touchdown run. But it was all Hamilton from that point.
Medlock kicked two field goals before Mathews scored his touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Medlock kicked five field goals for Hamilton. McCallum booted two for the Riders.
Saskatchewan had won 13 of the past 14 games versus Hamilton in Regina.
The Tiger-Cats have yet to play a home game this season. Their home opener is slated for Aug. 3.
Craig Slater, The Canadian Press