HAMILTON — Backup quarterback Tanner Marsh ran in for a touchdown to lead the Montreal Alouettes to a 26-23 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday.
It was the Ticats' first-ever loss at Tim Hortons Field since it opened last season.
Kyries Hebert intercepted Zach Collaros at the Montreal 30-yard line with 30 seconds left to seal the victory.
Marsh replaced starter Rakeem Cato midway through the second quarter after Cato was injured on a sack by Eric Norwood. Cato had completed four of seven pass attempts for 115 yards and one touchdown to that point. Marsh finished 9-of-15 for 81 yards and one interception.
Montreal (4-5) spoiled the party at Tim Hortons Field on a night where the sell-out crowd of 24,212 celebrated the career of legendary Tiger-Cats defensive lineman Angelo Mosca, who had his No. 68 retired. The win is also the Als second over Hamilton (6-3) and guarantees them the season series.
Luke Tasker and Jeff Mathews scored touchdowns for the Tiger-Cats. Brandon Rutley also scored for Montreal.
Collaros completed 20 of 26 pass attempts for 293 yards, one TD and one interception. He was sacked six times.
Montreal kicker Boris Bede was good on three of four field-goal attempts, hitting from 31, 23 and 28 yards and missing from 45.
Hamilton kicker Justin Medlock hit all three field-goal attempts, from 37, 49 and 48 yards.
It was Montreal's first game with Jim Popp as head coach after firing Tom Higgins following a win last week against B.C.
Hamilton had never lost at Tim Hortons Field since it opened on Labour Day last year — a streak of 10 straight. The Ticats were also riding a five-game win streak this season and were coming off a lopsided 49-20 victory over Edmonton on the road.
The last team to beat the Ticats was Montreal on July 16.
Hamilton, which had scored at least 30 points in each of its last five games (including 49 and 52 points in its last two outings), looked unsteady on both sides of the ball all game. They finally put a scoring drive together with 10 minutes left to tie the game 23-23, finishing a 72-yard eight-play drive with a two-yard TD rush by back-up quarterback Jeff Mathews.
Montreal marched back downfield eating up 5:52 on the clock with a 72-yard 12-play drive, including converting a third-and-one on the Hamilton 39. Bede kicked a 28-yarder to give the Alouettes a lead with 1:10 left.
Montreal's defence sacked Collaros twice deep in Hamilton territory in the second half. Medlock conceded a safety and the Als were up 23-13.
Hamilton defensive tackle Bryan Hall tipped Marsh's pass attempt on Montreal's next possession and Simoni Lawrence picked it off to get the ball back at the Alouettes' 40. That led to Medlock's 48-yard field goal and the Ticats pulled to 23-16 midway through the third.
Cato hit Rutley for a 65-yard pass-and-run TD and a 7-0 lead early in the game. The team's each traded field goals and it was 10-3 for the Als at the end of the first quarter.
A scrambling Collaros found Tasker deep in the end zone for an eight-yard TD pass 2:38 into the second quarter, sailing the ball just over the outstretched fingertips of Montreal's Dominique Ellis to tie the game.
Brandon Banks fumbled a punt return midway through the quarter and Montreal's Nicolas Boulay recovered on the Hamilton 47-yard line. Seven plays later, including a roughing the passer penalty, Marsh ran it in from the one-yard line for the 17-10 lead.
Collaros was sacked on the Ticats' next possession by Michael Klassen who also forced the fumble and recovered the ball on the Hamilton 30.
Bede's missed 45-yard field-goal attempt made it 18-10 late in the half. The half ended with a scuffle and two separate unnecessary roughness penalties handed out.
NOTES: Mosca's number is only the second to be retired in Hamilton. Quarterback Bernie Faloney's No. 10 was retired in 1999. Mosca, 78, played for Hamilton in 1958-59 and from 1963 to 1972, retiring after the Ticats' 13-10 Grey Cup victory over Saskatchewan at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The five-time CFL all-star appeared in nine Grey Cup championship games, winning five.
Carol Phillips, The Canadian Press