Ticats bully their way to gutsy win over Redblacks

Playing their second game in six days and ravaged by injury, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats stormed out to a big lead, then hung on for a gutsy 26-22 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday.

The Ticats opened the game with what was easily their best 30 minutes of football.

After forcing the Redblacks two-and-out on their opening drive, Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli marched the Ticats to the end zone, connecting with Jalen Saunders on a long pass pay then handing it off to C.J. Gable for a quick 7-0 lead.

Their second possession led to a field goal and – after the Redblacks cracked their doughnut with a single off a missed 25 yarder – new head coach June Jones used his challenge to get a pass interference call out of the command centre after a long attempt to Brandon Banks. Gable punched in another and it was 17-1.

There were two more Castillo field goals in the opening 30 minutes offset by a Brett Maher triple and the Ticats went to the break up 23-7, easily their biggest lead of the season.

The Redblacks came out firing in the third. After forcing the Ticats two-and-out, a long punt return set up quarterback Trevor Harris on a short field and four plays later he found Diontae Spencer in the end zone. A two-point conversion made it a one score game.

That momentum was squashed – literally and figuratively – by Hamilton defensive tackle Davon Coleman, whose making quite the reputation for himself as a quarterback killer. He planted Harris into the turf, knocking him from the game and back up Drew Tate took over.

Masoli put together yet another solid drive, taking the Ticats into the red zone for the fifth time on the night. But again, Hamilton settled for three and a 26-15 lead.

Then it was the Redblacks turn to use the challenge wisely. Head coach Rick Campbell tossed the hanky after an Emanuel Davis interception, getting a pass interference call instead. Three plays later, Tate hit Josh Stangby with a 29-yard touchdown pass and the Ticats lead was just five early in the fourth (Ottawa missed the two-point try.)

Former Hamilton kicker Brett Maher missed his second field of the night but Ottawa got a single out of it.

The Ticats were playing their second game in five days – the Redblacks had nine days between contests – and the injuries took their toll with a couple of more Canadians going out. Several players were clearly playing hurt.

Rookie defensive tackle Justin Vaughn had a huge second down sack forcing the Redblacks to punt with just over three minutes to go. A long run by Gable gave them one first down, a gutsy throw to Banks another. But the Ticats had to punt and Ottawa took over at their 17-yard line with 1:26 to go.

The Redblacks converted one third down but Hamilton got another sack, this time from Nikita Whitlock then a big open field tackle from Richard Leonard and that was ball game.

The Ticats are now 2-0 under Jones and 2-8 overall. And very much in the mix in the East Division.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1358 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

60 Comments on Ticats bully their way to gutsy win over Redblacks

  1. So where has Nikita Whitlock been all season ? I’m guessing he couldn’t get into the lineup due to ratio restrictions …He seems to be ideal for the CFL….at 5’10” not big enough for the NFL as a defensive tackle but his speed and low centre of gravity seem to be ideal for maneuvering on the wider CFL field… quarterbacks seem to look for that kind of speed coming from the outside via defensive backs or ends…
    think he caught Ottawa quarterbacks looking for outside threats and came up with 2 big sacks coming from the interior of the line….nice if he can stay in the lineup…

    • Well he was signed Aug 25 so he just arrived – he was not being held out of ghetto lineup – I think they said he was playing fullback in the NFL – nice to see a guy that can play multiple positions and special teams. Great effort tonight although offensively most of the output was in 1st half. I still would like to see Collaros operate the new offense – if he was washed up, other teams would not be looking to trade for him.

      • I don’t know how word correct made me type ghetto lineup- I did not type that and I apologize

      • Agree, that Zach may look good with the changes on offense. But give Masoli credit — not awesome numbers, but enough to win. I don’t think you change things unless he really plays poorly — I predict Zach will be back at the helm in a few games — its a great opportunity for him to take some pressure off, look things over & even heal the body as he’s taken big hits in every game he’s played this year.

        • give it up..Collaros has not been right in about ten games so im not sure what you are basing him being back in a few games like nothing happened.

          With all the available tech you can re watch every play on your own and see why he has lost his confidence…its because he has lost the ability to effectively read coverages and break down pressure.

          these two things are QB death

          or if you like try blind faith like the christians 🙂

      • Umm, Whitlock played Aug. 18th against Ottawa, got a tackle… looks like he signed Aug. 10th.
        He does look good though…

        • Shame on me for relying on Ticats. Ca for info

          • The CFL Web site says 3 games played but signed Aug 25th. It may be the CFL that messed up.

            Wiki says he was signed Aug 10th to the practice roster. Active roster is listed as Aug 16th.

            The answer to where he was all season is that he was a free agent, where the NY Giants was his last employer. Ratio considerations only came into play Aug 10th, 2017.

  2. Ticat Mike // September 9, 2017 at 9:49 pm //

    Coleman, Whitlock, Leonard, Castillo — all keepers going forward.
    Give Masoli credit for a good game.
    Mike Jones — sorry — this guy misses a lot of balls thrown this way.
    Cats looked like a real team — making some nice plays on offense, running the ball, and on defense — good pressure and coverage — at least more consistent.
    Congrats — against the East, they just may claw their way back…

    • Didn’t even notice Jones being targeted tonight. Faubert-Lussier missed one in the end zone though – about the time he was injured so don’t know if that had anything to do with it.
      Agree with you on the “keepers” I do believe that Castillo has been better than Maher!

      • TSN’s game log shows Jones with one target, one drop.

        Faubert-Lussier shows as two targets, two catches. I recall the drop in the end zone so TSN’s log looks suspect.

  3. Anxiously awaiting for Richard’s (“I expect Ottawa to win handily”) comments. This team has transformed and playing with great confidence – fun and inspiring to watch. May not have the players to make the playoffs but they are all of a sudden making things interesting.

    • Agreed, quite the coincidence my name is also Richard but yes the cats are making it a lot more interesting now.

  4. Great Win!

    The entire team looks different under June Jones.

  5. A defence that played hard and smart.
    An offence that actually had a running game, plus passes thrown in the air for more than 15 years.
    A special teams group that was solid – good punts, perfect FG’s and solid downfield tackling.
    And…..a coaching staff that didn’t have me screaming at the TV all night saying: “What on earth are you calling that play for!”
    How refreshing!!

    Unfortunately, we still had to put up with Rod Black. Did you know that the Ticats were carrying momentum from their first win of the season? Rod only told us about twenty times. Did you know that the team was “one and Eighteen” on the season? Did you know that Henry Burris must have paid TSN a small fortune for that 20 minute info-mercial during the third quarter? I actually felt bad for Duane Forde during Black’s never ending gushing over Hank. Forde remembered that there was a game going on.

    But, the team won again, and second place is within reach, given the schedule, the games in hand, injury to Harris and the newly found life this team has since Austin was banished upstairs.

    Bring on the Riders!

  6. They got lucky with their win against the Argos but they earned this one. Fun to watch and I love Masoli as a running QB.

    Waiting for all the cut Banks and Gable posters to have some class and admit they were wrong.

  7. oops! “….passes thrown for more than 15 yards. (It seems like its been 15 years since we’ve seen this.)

    • Or better still, passes thrown for the ACTUAL amount of yards needed to get the first down as opposed to passes being thrown 5 yards short and expecting the recipient to run through 3 tacklers to make the 1st down.

  8. Great win Hamilton….I called your last two wins while the rest of the world gave up on you. Now pipe down again my Riders next week haha

  9. Kudos to the defence…

    Defence wins championships… and the last two games or should I say wins are credited to the play of the defence…

    Masoli is a street brawler… and that’s exactly what the Ticats need right now… a QB who plays with guts and can turn broken plays into long runs and first downs… forget finesse and forget whining… just play smash mouth football…

    This is Whitlock’s 3rd game… in his first game his name didn’t even show up on the published roster sheet… he’s an impressive player as is Coleman… two really good DL…

    Can’t wait for Fantuz to return… big target, runs great routes and has two of the best hands in the CFL…

    All of a sudden the playoffs don’t seem so impossible or improbable…

  10. @Amicus… you’re right… sadly I was one of them and willingly admit I was wrong… under KA both players were badly misused but with Jones they are where they need to be…

  11. RB Nation Section C // September 9, 2017 at 10:29 pm //

    Hamilton played smash mouth football, the Redblacks seemed to play like they had this one in the bag. That ridiculous triple flee-flicker on the opening play for what a 20 yard loss only aggravated the ti-cats.
    I have gone from starting to feel pretty good about my pair of grey cup tickets to hoping for sask in the cross-over vs one of the other prairie teams so I can recoup some of the cost of the tickets…

  12. RB Nation Section C // September 9, 2017 at 10:34 pm //

    Redblacks need to find a way to improve their O-line. They’re getting pushed all over the place. QB and receivers have no time for passing routes to develop. I think I’ve been to 18 home games in Ottawa over the last few seasons and witnessed only four wins. (not counting Eastern Finals of course)

  13. Dundas dude // September 9, 2017 at 10:50 pm //

    Wow. Didn’t see that coming. I thought Hamilton had a chance on Labour day, but thought a rested and hot Red Blacks team would win tonight. As someone has said: the Toronto win was fortunate, but this one was pure guts. I was wrong about Banks, wanting to see him gone. Aultman looks solid fielding kicks. The defense was solid in the fourth to preserve the win. What can you say about CJ Gable…wow! Masoli is the iceman and played great. Tonight again with Ottawa proves again why having two qb’s is so important. Hopefully this takes the pressure off Zach, and he can get it going in coming weeks if (probably when) the offence stumbles and his number’s called. Castillo sure showed the Maher move was the right one. Gutsy performance by Masoli. Fun to watch the Cats again. This team is in the mix for the East and who knows with Fantis returning, and other moves, this team could be competitive in November. Let the miracle continue, dream. Way to go Speedy B!

  14. This still wasn’t the prettiest win but 2 points is 2 points in the standings so I’ll take it! Kudos to the defense who kept them in it even when the offense began to stutter again in the second half. They managed just enough points to stay in front. Given the way that the Ticats have played most of this season and the way that Ottawa was coming on, I fully expected a collapse in the final minutes similar to the first Edmonton game at THF in July. In the woeful east though they again have reason to hope and be optimistic. Banks as a returner just wasn’t getting it done any more but moving him to a receiver role has certainly rejuvenated his play. Aultman handled the return duties just fine instead.
    ticats63 – Black’s “cool hands Luke” comment as the game was about to begin was classic! The Burris “spot” went on WAY too long but at least he didn’t bash Hamilton for a change as he almost always does when a mike is put in his face!
    RBN – I too have tickets to the Grey Cup and I’ll be there regardless of who’s in the game!

  15. Finally-Regarding Ti-Cat fans, something to cheer about for 2017. Whether it’s the coaching change, playbook or players chosen to perform, it’s a pleasant change from the 1st 8 games that were played. Obviously Kent Austin stepping down as H.C. and relinquishing the duties to June Jones. Players seem to have and play with a different attitude and aptitude. Not playing Collars, was a no brainer, with Collaros’s 12 loss record. Masoli brings a new dimension to the game, with his threat of running, keeping defenses off balance. This was evident in the 1st half against RB’s. The O Line has improved, and defense has stepped up. More disciplined play, no stupid unnecessary penalties. Finally utilizing some form of running attack, and moving Banks from P/KR to WR was a great move, to use his speed and preserve his body. Aultman seems to be filling that void just a matter of time, before he finds a seem on a return. Overall a vast improvement, and maybe should have “kept the pedal on the metal” with the substantial lead they did have in 1st half. Ratio issues are prominent with the injuries. Fantuz hopefully will return soon, because I too say Mike Jones may possess great speed, but frankly couldn’t catch a cold. Ti-Cat’s are only 2 points out of 3rd place in the East, with a game in hand. There’s hope-hopefully for Ti-Cats 2017 tumultuous start. OSKEE WEE WEE..

    • It looks like a bit of everything as the return fumble in the Argos game was caused by a recent pickup and Whitlock who had an important sack has only been around since Aug 10th (Aug 25th if you believe the CFL web site).

  16. I find it so annoying that the officials are so bad that both teams had to use there challenges on easily called penalties. Hamilton could have used there’s in the third on the pass to Ellingson that clearly hit the turf on its way into his arms cost the Cats 5 points. Good game by both teams despite the stripes but my god TSN broadcast the game not the Hank show horrible. What ever happened to Chris Schulz?

  17. Forget about Collaros unless Masoli gets hurt. I’ve seen enough broken plays because of Collaros’ lack of improvisational talents. Cats have no room for error if they want to make the playoffs and Masoli right now is their best chance and he deserves to stay in. When he watches film he’ll see more field was open to him that he could have run for especially near the end of game but, he’ll keep that under his hat. Kudos to forgotten man Jalen Saunders who got open in crucial situations. Gable ran like a bull in a china shop. Very disciplined game by all players. 3 penalties for 39 yards. Cats just need to be alittle more creative in the red zone and they’ll be off and running.

    • Totally agree on all your points. Especially “…right now is their best chance to win…”. Of course certain posters wouldn’t agree…citing 1.5 m reasons why the other guy should be playing. Which is wrong. The price tag is irrelevant. Go with the guy that will get you to the dance…not the guy who’s still searching for the dance hall.

  18. Wow! I didn’t see that happening. How can Ottawa lose at home to the 1 and 8 Ticats! That was the worst first half Ever. Ottawa looked flat. I am not a football guru but that trick play to start the game was STUPID and fueled Hamilton’s fire. My big concern with the Redblacks is that they consistently lose at home. I think it’s like 4 wins out of 16 last regular season games. That’s sad when u have such strong fan support. Great atmosphere at the stadium and kudos to Burris for his half time presentation. I still can’t believe we lost that game. Totally inexcusable

    • Didn’t see it but a razzle dazzle play that early in the game suggests desperation … which does not make sense to me.

      Campbell had the right idea but somehow, the play calling did not match up.

  19. Finally a more complete game, and the guys are playing more confident football. The team from earlier in the year likely would have collapsed, as we saw in several 4th quarters that turned close games into blowouts. But not this one.

    The offense lost steam in the second half (probably partly because the RBs adjusted, and partly because Masoli wasn’t on fire the way he was in the first half). But the defense played their strongest and most consistent game of the year and has improved immensely – pressure & coverage, tackling, some great individual efforts too from several players. STs was good as well; Castillo has been the steadiest performer on the team and our return game has improved.

    Re: Burris — While I can appreciate that some thought there was a bit too much of the Hank Show, I didn’t think it was something to complain about (besides, it’s not the first time a former player has been gushed over in the announcer’s booth). Classy presentation by the RedBlacks based on what we could see from home (nice touch with the carved wood Grey Cup). And if you caught any of the parts of Henry’s speech at halftime, he was classy as well in his thank yous to the teams he played for, and particularly to the fans… including Hamilton’s. In the end he’s had a standout HOF career and deserved to be recognized.

  20. This is a case of Masoli making the Hamilton offence better by getting the ball out quicker and scrambling. The present offence would be terrible if Collarus was still playing as Collarus was taking way too much time to throw and was never mobile. The offence under Collarus was awful because of Collarus. The offence under Masoli is much better because of Masoli. What is hard to understand? For those continuing to ask for Collarus please just stop.

    • LOL! Yeah, you tell them that my friend…so simple reasoning…yet for some it’s like splitting atoms.

    • Ever consider that the plays have changed making it much easier for Masoli to get the ball away quickly? It’s not just the change in QB that working but what they’re trying to run and I’ve certainly seen Zach make GREAT plays while scrambling and IMO he is still the better and more accurate QB. He deserves a chance to show that he can function well in Jones system too at some point before the end of the season.

      • Nope.

      • There is a bit of that … or it could be my bias that I don’t think Austin took his hands off the offense until stepping down as HC.

        There is no reason to switch until Masoli is hurt or tries to do too much.

        Collaros has scrambled but I don’t recall him being anywhere near as efficient at running as Masoli.

  21. New HC + new QB = win #2. Nice to see Gable have another strong game as well. Love Coleman and his “take no prisoners and no apology offered” approach…reminds me of TC D linemen of old.

  22. I could not watch the game where I was but sounds good. Still disturbing only 3 points second half. Leads me to believe Ottawa figured us out and the loss of Harris helped. The defense must have played well like the last game.Still not totally convinced it is a turn around way too early for that but promising. If the oline has improved and the defense I would still like to see Collaros play before jumping on the Masoli band wagon.

    • Frank. You definitely have a point. The offence stalled in the second half. Ottawa adapted very quickly to the new look offence. I am a big fan of Masoli’s selfless leadership style and especially his running but let’s not get dogmatic (so many here have accused KA). I too would have been tempted to put Collaros in for a couple of series. My biggest takeaway is that we lost momentum when Masoli stopped running in the second half. I would like to see him call his own number eight times a game. I think that combined with Banks and Saunders running deep patterns is the key. It forces the defence to defend the run while still stretching the field vertically.

      • yes the OL ferry threw her magic dust on the OL just in time to help Masoli…geez give it up fellas Collaros is just not that capable these days

        • Yes, the pixies are working overtime dusting the O Line…as well as dusting the RB, dusting the receivers, dusting…

  23. Dundas dude // September 10, 2017 at 7:36 am //

    This is Masoli’s team now, but it would be nice to see Collaros get it going too, because it’s critical to have two good qb’s. Great day of football. I would think it will take at least 4 more wins to make the playoffs (probably 5 and certainly qualify with 6 more)….still a long shot, but the last two games are better than the first 8. This is why I love the CFL (but get rid of these challenges, have real time “eye in the sky” ref support and acknowledge blown ref calls is part of the bounces of the game (and a really tough sport to ref)). I love the CFL!

  24. How about that Lolley? Ever since he took over the defence, we have seen some positive improvement. Now we need to really work on the offence. Masoli has had as many two and outs as Collaros and Masoli truly runs hot and cold and is extremely inconsistent . I disagree on who gives the Ticats the best chance to win as I think it is Collaros playing alongside an improved offensive line like we have now and a balanced attack which Austin refused to let Collaros run. We need to address the ratio issues but as we do this line up Gable and Scheureman in the offence at the same time and move to a two quarterback system. Start Collaros but let Masoli spell him at times and in certain situations. If Ticats truly want to set CFL History, this is what they will do. we also need to get Collins Jr in the lineup.

  25. This is Jones and Masoli team now collaros should be traded and with 2 more Canadians out now is better than ever to try and get some canadian content for him . What a difference a coaching change has made

    • I’d wait until the end of the year since his stock right now has hit the nadir. Perhaps he may get into some games and show some glimmer from the past…get some value going. Nobody wants to be stuck with his 1.5 either.

  26. Dan Bombers // September 10, 2017 at 10:59 am //

    A couple more wins and back in the playoff picture. Great win

  27. Jones offense is a run and shoot style offense. Collaros did not have that style of offense to work with. It would behove Jones to let Collaros run his offense and see what happens. Before his two injurues he could run just as well as Masoli. As for the defense Lolley seems to be on track let’s hope things improve more. As for the o-line this run and shoot offense seems to play to their strength again time will tell.

  28. This is much more than just Masoli. But he’s provided new energy and has executed well, he’s used legs to good effect to both extend plays and gain positive yards when nobody is open or there is a gap to run in, and he’s getting the ball where it needs to be with some zip much of the time. He’s still streaky and misses options sometimes, but his growth is very evident and he’s doing what the offense needs him to do. And his attitude has been terrific.

    But the offensive changes go way beyond him. There has been an all-around shift in the plays — many more deep options and receivers being routed *beyond* the 1st down marker, fewer of those dumb 2-3 yard swing passes that get us nothing, and more running (!). The TSN panel noted he’s introduced a new playbook, which isn’t easy mid-season (even if keeping things simple, as Jones said he’d do when he took over) so I imagine we’ll see more in the coming weeks as other wrinkles get added. We’re less predictable and putting Banks in full-time has opened things up for Tasker and Saunders.

    Also, the offensive line blocking is very improved, whether by technique or skill or horsepower or all three (Mathews has played well his first two games, and Washington has improved too so we’re getting better play at the tackles).

    Masoli is definitely stirring the drink, but it’s a fresh mix with better punch. As long as the team is still winning I don’t think we should change the starting QB, it’s all about playoffs now and every game is do or die. But at some point the team will need to see what Collaros can do again after having time to absorb what’s going on from the sideline perspective, to show what he’s learned from Jones and if nothing else show other teams what he’s worth (though I think trading him would still be nuts right now)

    • msd – Well said – I totally agree!

    • Sea of Dead // September 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm //

      One shouldn’t mess with what has worked the last two games … So continue to start Masoli and hope that he can become more consistent over the course of an entire game. More experience may lead to that result.

      However, if the 2nd half offensive ineffectiveness continues going forward, then perhaps Collaros should be brought in for a few series … It may give the offence an added spark. A relief role for Collaros now may put him in a better place than he has been in, with less pressure and more opportunity for success and perhaps even get him back to where he was in 2015 before his knee injury.

      Two QB systems generally don’t work but it may eliminate some of the 2nd half offensive doldrums we’ve witnessed the last couple of games. When they’re on their games, each QB brings something different that can keep opponent defenses off balance.

  29. Just happy for the great fans of Hamilton!

  30. I enjoy the win as much as any Cat Fan but it seemed to me that the team has learned to play half a game for June.Where was the June magic in the second half, where was his insight to help maintain the style of play executed in the first half? It is the offense that these statements are directed at.
    June still has to solve the problem of the offense stalling for long periods of time just as it did for Austin.The only major change is the running of Masoli which has given the Cats more running yards in the offense.The Cat defense played some brutally terrific games against Edmonton where Reilly was lucky to escape without injury.The prior play would suggest that this was not a new defense against Ottawa.
    June has now had two games at the helm, surely the third game shall tell the tale.

  31. Great team effort, even if cats don’t make the playoffs as long as they keep playing like this for the rest of the year it would make for entertaining football, my one beef, THE REFEREEING. Teams get one challenge and a blatant PI is missed on Banks and we have to use it to get the call right. Would of been nice to hang onto it just in case.

  32. “Bully their way”…been a while since I heard that phrase used as a positive. I like it; let’s do it again, and again, and… 🙂

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