Blue Bombers remain unbeaten after win over Tiger-Cats

Willie Jefferson intercepted a Dane Evans’ pass for a fourth-quarter touchdown in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ 26-12 win Friday over the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Blue Bombers (3-0) remained unbeaten to start the CFL season, while the Ticats were winless in three starts.

After sacking Hamilton’s quarterback early in the fourth quarter, Jefferson ran an interception back 30 yards to score with 8:40 remaining in the game.

Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira scored a one-yard touchdown, while Winnipeg kicker Marc Liegghio had a perfect outing. 

Liegghio kicked field goals from 45, 30 and 41 yards, hit both converts and added three punt singles.

The Tiger-Cats relied on kicker Michael Domagala when they couldn’t find the end zone. 

He was good on field-goal attempts from 27, 49, 32 and 41 yards, but was wide on tries from 45 and 52 yards.

Opening kickoff was delayed until 8 p.m. local time because of lightning as thunderstorms pass through Winnipeg.

The team had asked fans at IG Field to wear white for a “whiteout”. Many of the 23,600 in attendance did, but covered up with rain ponchos.

The Bombers wore their white road jerseys, which is what they donned for their back-to-back Grey Cup victories over Hamilton in 2019 and 2021.

Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros completed 21 of 32 pass attempts for 302 yards with one interception.

Evans was 25-for-42 passing for 237 yards with two interceptions.

Winnipeg led 6-3 after the first quarter, 14-9 at halftime and 18-9 after three quarters.

Both quarterbacks connected on long passes in first-half scoring drives.

Collaros hit Greg Ellingson with a 46-yard completion to boost a drive capped by Liegghio’s 45-yard field goal. 

Collaros and Rasheed Bailey combined for a 35-yard reception on the next series, which ended with Liegghio’s 30-yarder to make it 6-0 at 9:29.

After facing second down and 27 following a penalty, Evans scrambled and threw a 41-yard strike to David Ungerer III. 

The drive ended with Domagala’s 27-yard field goal at 12:05.

Hamilton made it 6-6 just 21 seconds into the second quarter when Domagala booted a 49-yarder. 

Winnipeg responded with a punt single at 3:35.

Domagala missed a 45-yard attempt, but was good from 32 yards with 2:22 remaining in the first half.

With 18 seconds left, Winnipeg’s Oliviera finished off a five-play, 59-yard drive with a one-yard TD carry.

Bombers receiver Nic Demski appeared to hurt a foot when he was tackled two minutes into the third quarter. He didn’t return to the game.

Liegghio increased Winnipeg’s lead to 18-9 with a punt single at 3:33 and added a 41-yard field goal at 11:52 of the third.

After Jefferson hit pay dirt with a pick-six, Hamilton’s Domagala made it 25-12 with his 41-yarder at 9:56 of the fourth. 

Liegghio added another punt single.

Evans was also intercepted by Winnipeg defensive back Nick Taylor late in the fourth quarter.

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