Jeremiah Masoli threw three TD passes and ran for another as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats earned a lopsided 64-14 road win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday afternoon.
Masoli cemented the victory by throwing all three touchdown strikes — as well as for a two-point convert — in a 21-point third quarter to give Hamilton (2-0) a commanding 41-6 advantage. Masoli found Bralon Addison on a 21-yard TD strike just 1:15 into the quarter before hitting a wide-open Nikola Kalinic from 31 yards out at 8:10.
Masoli, who finished 23-of-31 passing for 338 yards, found Addison on the two-point convert. Then, to the dismay of the BMO Field gathering of 16,734, Masoli hit Addison on a 10-yard touchdown pass at 13:26.
Brandon Banks added to Toronto’s misery by returning a missed field goal 115 yards for the TD just 50 seconds into the fourth. Then Ticats backup Dane Evans hit Addison on a 44-yard scoring strike, Addison’s third touchdown of the game.
And fittingly, the game ended with former Argo Rico Murray returning an interception 37 yards for the touchdown.
Addison finished with six catches for 107 yards. Hamilton running back Sean Thomas-Erlington ran for 109 yards on 12 carries while Banks added seven catches 105 yards.
Masoli improved to 6-1 against Toronto (0-1) but spoiled more than just their home/season opener. Before the game, the Argos honoured former starter Ricky Ray, who retired last month to cap a 17-year pro career, 16 in the CFL with Edmonton (2002-03, 2005-2011) and Double Blue (2012-2018).
Ray, who attended the game with his wife and two young daughters, won a record four Grey Cups as a starter. He retired after suffering a season-ending neck injury in a 41-7 home loss to Calgary last June 23 and stands fourth in all-time CFL passing yards (60,736).
Saturday’s game marked just the second time since 2011 that Ray wasn’t Toronto’s season-opening starter. James Franklin drew that assignment but was 16-of-26 passing for 211 yards and an interception before being replaced by McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the fourth.
Rookie Maleek Irons scored Hamilton’s other touchdown while Marcus Tucker added another two-point convert. Lirim Hajrullahu booted three field goals and two converts.
Armanti Edward had Toronto’s lone TD while S.J. Green added a two-point convert. Drew Brown kicked two field goals.
Brown’s 43-yard field goal on the final play of the second cut Hamilton’s half-time lead to 20-6. It came after the Ticats took control of the quarter on rushing TDs by Masoli and Irons.
Irons capped a six-play, 59-yard drive with a five-yard run at 13:40 to put Hamilton ahead 20-3 as the two-point convert was unsuccessful. Masoli scored on a one-yard run, then hit Tucker for the two-point convert, at 9:44.
Tucker had a 44-yard catch on the drive, which was made possible by Simoni Lawrence’s second interception of the season. Lawrence received a two-game suspension from the CFL on Monday but played because he’s appealing it.
Lawrence was suspended for hitting quarterback Zach Collaros in the head during last week’s 23-17 season-opening home win over Saskatchewan. Lawrence also had a sack against Toronto.
Hajrullahu’s career-best 56-yard boot put Hamilton ahead 6-3 at 2:04. Brown’s 28-yard boot at 10:13 tied the score 3-3.
Hajrullahu opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal at 6:03. It was set up by Brandon Revenberg’s recovery of Abdul Kanneh’s fumble on an interception return.