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Tiger-Cats lose QB Masoli to injury but hand Winnipeg 1st loss of season

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) gets over the line for a TD against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during first-half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont., on Friday, July 26, 2019.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) gets over the line for a TD against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during first-half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont., on Friday, July 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

There are no more unbeaten teams in the CFL after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-15 Friday night at Tim Hortons Field.

But you can’t blame the Ticats for not wanting to celebrate too much.

Hamilton’s star quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game. He went to the locker room and returned to the sideline with a brace on his left leg.

Masoli completed six of his seven pass attempts for 59 yards and ran for a 22-yard touchdown 4:14 into the contest.

Dane Evans was 13 of 25 for 94 yards and an interception in relief, but it was Hamilton’s defence and special teams that made the biggest impact in the game.

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The Tiger-Cats forced six turnovers, including two interceptions by defensive back Jumal Rolle, and scored 17 points off those turnovers.

Kicker Lirim Hajrullahu converted all three of his field-goal attempts from 21, 27 and 42 yards and had a 48-yard average on his nine punts on the night.

Friday’s victory vaulted the Ticats to 5-1 on the season and puts Hamilton four points clear of second-place Montreal in the CFL’s East Division, while Winnipeg dropped to 5-1 and remains two points ahead of Calgary and Edmonton.

The Cats held one of the league’s best offences in check, limiting QB Matt Nichols to 261 passing yards. Nichols completed 29 of his 48 pass attempts but was also picked off three times. His lone touchdown toss was to Darvin Adams midway through the second quarter.

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Hamilton next plays in Saskatchewan on Aug. 1.

Friday marked the first game of a two-game suspension for Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence for his head shot on Roughriders quarterback Zach Collaros. Lawrence will also miss next week’s game.