Jeremiah Masoli throws four TD passes as Ticats defeat Argos

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (8) throws to Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks (16) during second half CFL football game action against the Toronto Argonauts in Hamilton, Ont. on Monday, September 3, 2018. (Peter Power/CP)

TORONTO — Jeremiah Masoli threw four TD passes as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Toronto Argonauts 36-25 on Saturday afternoon.

That gave Hamilton (6-5) a sweep of the Labour Day series following a 42-28 win at Tim Hortons Field on Monday. The Ticats not only clinched the season series with Toronto but also moved into a first-place tie with the Ottawa Redblacks in the East Division.

Ottawa and Hamilton will play twice next month.

Toronto made it interesting with McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s 31-yard TD pass to S.J. Green at 12:56 of the fourth. But the two failed to connect on the two-point convert, leaving Hamilton ahead 36-25.

The Argos (3-8) suffered their third straight loss and saw their playoff hopes go on life support. Toronto remains tied for third in the East with Montreal but both teams entered action Saturday two wins behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-6) in the battle for East Division’s final playoff spot.

Winnipeg would cross over to the East if the season ended on Saturday.

Masoli quieted the BMO Field gathering of 15,702 with a 34-yard TD strike to Alex Green at 7:18 of the fourth. He then hit Luke Tasker on the two-point convert to put Hamilton ahead 33-19.

Masoli finished 18-of-25 passing for 307 yards, his ninth 300-yard game this season. That tied him with Henry Burris for Hamilton’s franchise record.

Masoli was 26-of-35 passing for 385 yards and three TDs on Labour Day.

Brandon Banks had six catches for 153 yards and two TDs. He registered nine receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns on Labour Day.

That not only put Banks over 1,000 yards on the season but it was his CFL-leading eighth 100-yard receiving game this year. He’s four short of Jamel Richardson’s league mark.

Duron Carter saw action on offence and special teams in his Toronto debut. He had no catches but returned two punts for 13 yards.

Hamilton, playing without defensive linemen Ted Laurent, Julian Howsare and Adrian Tracy, got a heavy dose of James Wilder. He ran for 76 yards on 11 carries.

Bethel-Thompson finished 27-of-40 passing for 295 yards with two TDs. Armanti Edwards had nine catches for 112 yards while Green recorded eight receptions for 97 yards.

Masoli’s 78-yard TD pass to Banks at 6:05 of the third staked Hamilton to a 25-13 advantage.

Toronto countered with James Franklin’s two-yard TD run at 11:41. But Zack Medeiros missed the convert, leaving Hamilton’s lead at 25-19.

Lirim Hajrullahu’s 52-yard field goal at 2:51 of the third extended Hamilton’s lead to 18-13.

Tasker also had Hamilton’s other touchdown. Hajrullahu added the converts, two field goals and single.

Armanti Edwards scored Toronto’s other touchdown. Medeiros booted two field goals and a convert.

Toronto cut Hamilton’s half-time lead to 15-13 on Bethel-Thompson’s 10-yard TD strike to Edwards at 8:06 of the second. It came after Masoli capped a 75-yard, eight-play march with a 26-yard TD strike to Banks at 3:41.

Hajrullahu booted an 86-yard single on the ensuing kickoff in what was a lacklustre opening half.

Medeiros cut Hamilton’s lead to 7-6 on field goals of 36 and 22 yards at 9:34 and 14:49, respectively, of the first. The 36-yard boot was set up by Hajrullahu’s eight-yard kickoff that put Toronto at the Ticats’ 43-yard line.

Masoli opened the scoring with a 17-yard TD strike to Tasker at 7:06. Tasker had four catches for 76 yards on the seven-play, 82-yard scoring drive.

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