Ma­soli leads Ti­cats to sea­son sweep of lowly Ar­gos

Winnipeg Free Press - - I CFL SPORTS - DAN RALPH

TORONTO — Jeremiah Ma­soli threw four touch­down passes as the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats beat the Toronto Arg­onauts

34-20 on Fri­day night to em­phat­i­cally sweep the sea­son se­ries.

Hamil­ton (8-7) fin­ished 3-0 ver­sus Toronto (3-12) and Ma­soli was a huge fac­tor with a com­bined 11 TD passes. He fin­ished 21 of 30 pass­ing for 338 yards with two in­ter­cep­tions, sur­pass­ing the

300-yard mark in all three games and for a CFL-best 11th time this sea­son.

Luke Tasker and Bran­don Banks came up big against Toronto again. Banks had eight catches for 178 yards and a TD, while Tasker reg­is­tered four re­cep­tions for 63 yards and a ca­reerbest three touch­downs.

Over the three games, Banks had

23 catches for 466 yards and five TDs, while Tasker recorded 19 re­cep­tions for 297 yards and five touch­downs.

Ma­soli ce­mented the win in the third quar­ter with TD strikes of five and 48 yards to Tasker. That staked Hamil­ton to a com­mand­ing 31-10 lead, dis­ap­point­ing the BMO Field gath­er­ing of 14,184 on a cool fall night.

Toronto, the 10th CFL team since

1958 to win the Grey Cup then miss the play­offs the next year, suf­fered its sev­enth straight loss. It’s the long­est los­ing streak of Ar­gos head coach Marc Trest­man’s CFL ca­reer and the usu­ally stoic Trest­man showed rare frus­tra­tion fol­low­ing a pass in­ter­fer­ence call.

Trest­man, who was wear­ing a mi­cro­phone on the side­line, un­suc­cess­fully chal­lenged the call and let ref­eree Al Brad­bury know he wasn’t amused.

“That was not pass in­ter­fer­ence,” Trest­man said. “Al, you’re lucky I’m mic’d tonight.

“I’ve never said a word to you in seven years and I’m not go­ing to say a word tonight. But you’re lucky I’m mic’d. It’s not right.”

Toronto’s James Franklin, mak­ing his first start in nine games, was 22 of

36 for 294 yards with two TDs and an in­ter­cep­tion while rush­ing for 44 yards on seven car­ries. Vet­eran re­ceiver S.J. Green had seven catches for 123 yards and a touch­down.

Hamil­ton moved into a first-place tie with the Ot­tawa Red­blacks (8-6), which vis­its the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos to­day. The Ti­cats face the Red­blacks at TD Place next week­end to open a cru­cial home-and-home se­ries be­tween the two East Di­vi­sion ri­vals.

Hamil­ton will host Ot­tawa on Oct.

27. The Red­blacks lead the sea­son se­ries 1-0 with both teams hav­ing al­ready clinched home play­off games.

Ma­soli im­proved his road record to

12-7 as a CFL starter — he’s 6-9 in Hamil­ton and 3-0 at BMO Field. He has more ca­reer wins (five) against Toronto than any other team.

Hamil­ton’s Lirim Ha­jrul­lahu booted two field goals, a sin­gle and three con­verts.

Bran­den Burks had Toronto’s other touch­down. New­comer Drew Brown kicked two field goals and two con­verts.

Ma­soli’s 17-yard TD strike to Banks — his ca­reer-best 10th of the sea­son — at 7:52 of the sec­ond staked Hamil­ton to a 18-10 half-time lead. Banks made the catch, then sur­vived col­lid­ing with the goal­post be­fore rac­ing to the stands to give the ball to his son.

Ha­jrul­lahu’s 56-yard sin­gle at 14:29 gave Hamil­ton it’s eight-point lead, but Toronto was for­tu­nate to be down by that mar­gin. Frankie Wil­liams re­turned a punt 90 yards for the TD with roughly four min­utes re­main­ing, but it was called back by two sep­a­rate penalty flags.

The two teams opened the con­test im­pres­sively, each scor­ing a field goal and TD on their first two pos­ses­sions. Ha­jrul­lahu’s 45-yard field goal into a stiff wind barely cleared the cross­bar at 2:32 of the first be­fore Brown con­nected from 44 yards out with the wind at 7:05.

Ma­soli capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a four-yard TD pass to Tasker at 11:02 be­fore Franklin found Burks on a 17-yard com­ple­tion at 13:02 to make it 10-10.

Tiger-Cats re­ceiver Bran­don Banks fin­ished with 178 yards and a TD in Fri­day’s vic­tory.

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