For the second time in five days, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats got the better of the Toronto Argonauts.
Ticats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli threw two of his four touchdown passes to Brandon Banks, as Hamilton beat Toronto 36-25 at BMO Field Saturday afternoon.
LISTEN: The 5th Quarter on 900 CHML
The victory was Hamilton’s third in a row and vaulted the Cats into a first-place tie with Ottawa (6-5) in the CFL’s East Division with 12 points. Hamilton (6-5) will face the Redblacks in back-to-back games on Oct. 19 and 27, a home-and-home series that will in all likelihood decide which team earns a first-round playoff bye.
The Tiger-Cats, winners of four of their last five games, never trailed on Saturday.
Masoli found Luke Tasker for the game’s opening score, a 17-yard touchdown, that lifted the Cats to a 7-0 lead out of the gate. Tasker hauled in four receptions for 77 yards in the seven-play 82 yard drive. It was his third straight game with a touchdown catch. He ended the game with seven receptions for 91 yards.
Hamilton carried a 7-6 lead into the second quarter after a couple of field goals by Toronto’s Zack Medeiros, from 36 and 22 yards, and stretched their lead to eight points on their first play of the quarter when Masoli found Banks for a 26 yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hamilton’s Lirim Hajrullahu drilled the ball into the Argos’ endzone for a single point and a 15-6 lead.
The boatmen answered back when McLeoed Bethel-Thompson hurled a 10-yard touchdown pass into the hands of Armanti Edwards to make it 15-13 for the Ticats.
Masoli and Banks connected on a brilliant 78-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter that not only made it 25-13 for the Ticats, it was the eighth time this season that Banks surpassed the 100 receiving yard mark in a game.
That ties Hamilton’s single-season record held by Tony Champion in 1989. It also boosted Banks above the 1,000 yard receiving mark for the second consecutive season.
Toronto trimmed Hamilton’s lead to 25-19 when backup quarterback James Franklin plunged into the endzone for a two-yard major. But Medeiros booted the extra point wide left.
Masoli’s fourth touchdown of the contest went for 34 yards when running back Alex Green caught the ball on a wheel route and ran into the endzone unscathed.
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Hajrullahu added his second field goal of the game, a 49-yard boot, that gave the Cats a commanding 36-19 lead.
Toronto rounded out the scoring when Bethel-Thompson tossed a 31 yard touchdown to S.J. Green. However, the two point conversion failed.
The Ticats next play September 15 when they host the CFL leading Calgary Stampeders at Tim Hortons Field.