Ticats ruin the Argos’ perfect night with 42-20 win

It was supposed to be a night to celebrate the rebirth of the Toronto Argonauts and their move to a new home at BMO Field. There were marching bands, former Argo stars and commemorative blue t-shirts on every seat. Everything was perfect.

There was just one problem: they invited Simoni Lawrence and Jeremiah Masoli. And they were perfect, too.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker put on a truly dominant performance in a convincing Ticat win, one that can’t be properly quantified by measly statistics. And yet, even those were impressive: a pick six, a multitude of defensive tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and a pass knockdown. He stuffed the Argos on a third-and-short and he represented the team in a halftime TV interview. He was everywhere, at all times.

Masoli wasn’t spectacular – until he needed to be. After a so-so first half and a bit, Masoli went 15-for-15 for 176 yards on two touchdown drives that restored Hamilton control of what had become an uncomfortably close game in the third quarter. He finished with three touchdowns and – here’s the big one – zero interceptions.

The rest of the Ticats did just fine, too. Defensive end John Chick was the Robin to Lawrence’s Batman – it’s a metaphorical not a physical comparison – causing the fumble that Lawrence picked up, tipping another ball that was intercepted and generally wreaking havoc.

Want another stat? The Argos had seven carries for one rushing yard. One.

The Hamilton special teams were strong as well. Kicker Brett Maher was four for four on field goals, including a 50 yarder, and fired off a number of long – and more importantly, accurate – punts. Mike Daly blocked a punt in the first half that set up a Maher field goal.

The Ticats as a whole were hardly perfect, however. They took a number of costly penalties in the first half which cost them points, turnovers and field position. A Brandon Banks fumble late in the third quarter helped the Argonauts to score consecutive touchdowns that turned a comfy 19-point lead into a tight game.

But Masoli’s back-to-back bouts of perfection took care of that as he fired the first touchdown to Banks, in a nice bit of redemption for the fumble, and the second to Chad Owens in an even bigger bit of redemption, given that the Ticat receiver came to Hamilton after being spurned by his former club in the off-season.

With a season-opening win under their belts, the Ticats will now face the B.C. Lions in their home opener next Friday on the July 1 holiday.

Sounds just about perfect.

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