Masoli throws three TD passes to lead Ticats to season sweep of Argos

Tiger-Cats 34 Argonauts 20

TORONTO — Jeremiah Masoli threw four TD 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 career-best 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 ‘58 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 S.J. Green had seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.

Hamilton moved into a first-place tie with Ottawa (8-6), which visits Edmonton on Saturday. 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 its 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 Drew 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.

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