Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ticats' Mathews Impresses in CFL Debut, Leads Hamilton to 37-10 Pre-Season Win

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ticats' Mathews Impresses in CFL Debut, Leads Hamilton to 37-10 Pre-Season Win

Article excerpt

Ticats' Jeff Mathews impresses in CFL debut

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HAMILTON - It didn't look like quarterback Jeff Mathews was taking his first snaps in the CFL.

The 23-year-old out of Cornell University threw two touchdown passes and led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to 20 points in the first half as Hamilton cruised to a 37-10 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Monday night in CFL pre-season play.

Mathews spent last season jumping around the NFL before signing with Hamilton as a free agent in the off-season.

But it was the three years he spent at Cornell playing for Kent Austin -- Austin left after the 2012 season to become Tiger-Cats head coach -- that Mathews credits with helping his transition into the Canadian game.

"It's a similar system," he said about the Ticat offence compared to the one he ran at Cornell. "Obviously, the last seven days have been huge, to be in camp and to be working everyday in the offence with these guys."

Mathews, who is competing for the back-up spot behind veteran Zach Collaros, hit Terrence Toliver down the right sideline for a 73-yard catch-and-run TD and threw a 23-yard score to Matt Coates.

He finished the half completing nine of 15 pass attempts for 188 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

"It's a quick-paced game," he said of three-down football. "You don't really feel that in practice as much as you do in the game. Obviously, you've got those two downs to make things happen so you've got to be really efficient in what you're doing and we were fortunate tonight to be efficient in the passing game and running the ball well."

"He's a pretty good player," smiled Austin. "He's got the benefit of being in (an offence similar to his college days). Obviously, it's modified to this game, but from terminology and the concepts that we run, these are familiar so that helps him come out of the curve quicker."

Ticats kicker Justin Medlock hit field goals from 31, 37 and 32 yards out.

Quincy McDuffie returned the second half's opening kick-off 98 yards to give Hamilton a 27-0 lead. McDuffie also ran a punt back 105 yards late in the fourth, but it was called back for an illegal block.

Jacory Harris took over for Mathews, leading a 47-yard scoring drive anchored by a 39-yard strike to Tiquan Underwood that ended at the one-yard line. …

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