Bo Levi Mitchell threw two TD strikes as the Calgary Stampeders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 36-17 on Saturday to extend their unbeaten streak to a CFL-record 13 games.
The Stampeders (12-1-1) earned their 11th straight win and played for the first time since the tragic death of defensive back Mylan Hicks. The 23-year-old practice-roster rookie died early Sunday morning in a shooting outside a Calgary nightclub.
There was a moment of silence prior to kickoff in Hicks's memory. Safety Jamal Wall wore Hicks's No. 31 and will for remainder of season while the Stampeders donned a No. 31 sticker on the back of their helmets.
Calgary receiver DaVaris Daniels earmarked the ball he used to score his second TD of the game for Hicks's mother, Renee Hill.
Calgary hasn't lost since dropping a season-opening 20-18 decision in B.C. on June 25. The Stampeders also hold the CFL record for most consecutive wins, 22, registered over the 1948-49 seasons.
Calgary's tie was a 26-26 decision in Ottawa on July 8. Rookie head coach Dave Dickenson earned his 12th win, one short of the league single-season record held jointly by Adam Rita (1991 with Toronto), Calgary president John Hufnagel (2008) and Mike Benevides (2012 with B.C.).
Mitchell was 21-of-30 passing for 299 yards with the two TDs and two interceptions and improved to a stellar 40-7-1 as a CFL starter.
Hamilton (6-8) dropped its 10th straight game and 14th in 15 contests against Calgary before a Tim Hortons Field gathering of 23,741. The Ticats suffered their second consecutive loss with head coach Kent Austin watching from the spotter's booth.
The CFL fined Austin $10,000 last week and banned him from the sidelines for this game after contacting an official in last weekend's 20-18 road loss to Saskatchewan. Defensive co-ordinator Orlondo Steinuaer handled Hamilton's sideline but Austin was allowed to be with his team before the game, at halftime and afterwards while being permitted to wear a headset to speak with his coaches and key offensive and defensive players.
Hamilton played a man short after Canadian defensive lineman Michael Atkinson was injured in the pre-game warmup. And quarterback Zach Collaros (upper body) missed the second half after taking a hard Charleston Hughes hit late in the second quarter.
Collaros finished 16-of-22 passing for 120 yards and an interception. Jeremiah Masoli took the second-half starter's snaps.
Jerome Messam's one-yard TD run at 6:27 of the third earned Calgary a commanding 29-9 advantage to cap an impressive 10-play, 87-yard drive.
Masoli's four-yard run and two-point conversion toss to Andy Fantuz pulled Hamilton to within 29-17 with 3:08 remaining but Simon Charbonneau returned Fantuz's kickoff 50 yards for a TD just eight seconds later.
Rene Paredes hit two field goals and two converts for Calgary while Kamar Jorden had a two-point convert. The other points came on a safety.
Hamilton's Brett Maher kicked three field goals, including a club-record 58-yard boot.
Paredes' 44-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining staked its half-time lead to 22-9 and it followed Maher's club-record field goal at 13:58. Mitchell's 59-yard TD strike to Daniels at 12:24 was the quarter's biggest play at 12:24 and although the two-point convert was unsuccessful, the drive countered Maher's 43-yard field goal at 10:42 that cut Calgary's lead to 13-6.
Mitchell was 14-of-21 passing in the half for 221 yards with two TDs and an interception. Daniels had four catches for 114 yard and the two touchdowns.
Mitchell capped a six-play, 84-yard scoring march on the game's first possession with a 16-yard scoring strike to Daniels at 3:39 before finding Jorden on the two-point convert. Calgary took over at the Hamilton 14-yard line on Ja'Gared Davis's interception but came away with no points after Drew Tate was stopped short on the fake field-goal try.
Calgary appeared to go ahead 14-0 when Ciante Evans returned a Spencer Watt fumble 10 yards for the TD but after review it was ruled an incompletion. After Hamilton surrendered the safety, Paredes connected from 41 yards out at 10:31 to put the Stamps ahead 13-0.
Maher's 48-yard field goal at 14:12 cut Calgary's lead to 13-3.