Ham straightens out up-and-down CFLs

August 11, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Tracy Ham threw for a season-high 442 yards last night to help the Baltimore CFLs -- at their Jekyll-and-Hyde best -- beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 30-15, at Memorial Stadium.

The victory was the 100th of Don Matthews' 10-year head coaching career in the Canadian Football League.

It came on the same day the CFL announced Baltimore would play host to the 1997 Grey Cup. And it moved the CFLs (4-2) into first place in the Eastern Division, ahead of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-2), who play tonight at Ottawa.

Ham completed 23 of 42 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. His big receiver was slotback Chris Armstrong, who had two touchdowns among his seven receptions for 224 yards. Armstrong's catches and yards were season highs.

Before an announced crowd of 37,231, the CFLs built up a 20-2 halftime lead, then let Hamilton (1-5) back in the game. Four second half turnovers did the trick, and Hamilton capitalized for 13 points.

The Tiger-Cats got as close as 20-15 with 10:56 left in the game on a 37-yard field goal by Paul Osbaldiston. But a 48-yard pass play to Armstrong and a 23-yard touchdown run by Mike Pringle gave Baltimore a 27-15 cushion with seven minutes left.

Pringle became the first CFLs' back to rush for 100 yards with 172 yards rushing on 24 carries.

Baltimore dominated Hamilton for a 20-2 halftime lead, getting two Ham-to-Armstrong touchdown passes and a pair of Donald Igwebuike field goals.

Ham completed 15 of 26 passes for 258 yards, and Armstrong had two receptions for 125 yards in the first half. But the CFLs' offense struggled early.

But the offense kicked in in the second quarter when Baltimore had scoring drives of 75 yards and 88 yards to break open a 6-1 first-quarter lead.

Ham teamed with Walter Wilson on a 40-yard scoring pass, but Wilson was offside on the play and lost the touchdown. On a second-and-15 play, Ham scrambled out of the pocket to find a wide-open Peter Tuipulotu in the middle of the field for a 22-yard gain.

Two plays later, Ham rifled a pass to Armstrong at the Hamilton 3 on a post pattern for a 23-yard touchdown pass.

Armstrong made an acrobatic reception for a 36-yard gain on the next series, catching a pass that deflected off his hands. But the series stalled and the CFLs punted.

On their next possession, Ham converted a second-and-10 play with a 17-yard pass to Wilson to the Baltimore 50.

After an incompletion, Ham found Armstrong open at the Hamilton 33. When Don Odegard missed a diving tackle, Armstrong raced untouched to the end zone to complete a 60-yard touchdown play.

Baltimore struck for two field goals in the first quarter. Igwebuike cashed in a 40-yarder on the CFLs' first series. With :08 left in the half, he booted a 46-yarder. The big play in that possession was a 22-yard pass to Wilson that carried to the Hamilton 45.

Meanwhile, Baltimore's defense stonewalled Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats didn't get a first down until time expired in the first quarter. Even then, it came on a pass interference call against halfback Ken Watson. Hamilton quarterback Timm Rosenbach completed only 7 of 17 passes for 54 yards in the first half.

Hamilton's best opportunity of the half came when Baltimore faked a punt and lost 23 yards.

But Rosenbach threw two incompletions and Osbaldiston was wide right on a 44-yard field-goal try. The ball went through Armstrong -- the returner -- and the end zone for a single.

Baltimore had a chance to put the game away early in the second half, but turned the ball over twice. Wilson fumbled a pass at the Tiger-Cats' 32 on the team's first series.

On the second possession, Ham hit Armstrong for a 40-yard pass play to the Hamilton 15. When Hassan Bailey was flagged for pass interference on Tuipulotu in the end zone, Baltimore had first down on the 1-yard line.

But on the next play, Ham fumbled and Hamilton recovered. The Tiger-Cats capped an 85-yard drive in their best offensive series of the night with a 5-yard scoring pass from Rosenbach to Joey Jauch.

A third turnover -- on a Ham interception -- set up a Hamilton field goal, a 48-yarder. That came with 1:50 left in the third quarter and cut the margin to 20-12.

A fourth Baltimore turnover gave Hamilton three more points in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 20-15.

The Tiger-Cats drove 60 yards to get a 37-yard field goal by

Osbaldiston. Baltimore nose tackle Jearld Baylisforced the field-goal try when he pressured Rosenbach on a second-down pass attempt and chased him from the Baltimore 30 to midfield.

The CFLs used two big plays midway through the fourth quarter to take a 27-15 lead. Armstrong got behind the coverage for a 48-yard pass play -- pushing him over 200 yards for the game -- to the Hamilton 23.

Then Pringle made a winding, 23-yard touchdown run on which he bounced off safety Todd Wiseman at the 5 and scampered into the end zone.

CFL 100-WIN CLUB

Baltimore's Don Matthews earned his 100th career victory in the CFL last night, including postseason wins. Here are the coaches who have won 100 and how long it took them:

Coach ... ... ... ... Games ... Years ... Wins

Frank Clair .. .. ... 190 .. .. 13 .. ... 174

Eagle Keys ... .. ... 176 .. .. 11 .. ... 147

Bud Grant ... ... ... 151 .. .. 8 ... ... 122

Ray Jauch ... ... ... 178 .. .. 11 .. ... 119

Bob O'Billovich .. .. 183 .. .. 11 .. ... 108

Don Matthews .. .. .. 161 .. .. 10 .. ... 100

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