Jerome Messam runs for three TDs, Stampeders stomp Ticats

After the first three-touchdown game of his career, Jerome Messam had a lot of people to thank.

Right at the top of that list was receiver Marken Michel, who hauled in a pair of long passes from quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to set up a pair of short TD runs by Messam.

“Marken put me down there twice within five yards,” said Messam, who finished with 91 yards on 11 carries to lead the Calgary Stampeders to a convincing 60-1 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.

“A shout out to him, he played out of his mind tonight. He got the game ball. I’m not going to complain. He got us down there and I just punched it in.”

Michel definitely deserved the praise as he finished with 190 yards on six catches, including a 35-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell late in the second quarter to give the Stampeders (4-1-1) a 39-1 lead.

“It felt great, but when you’ve got a running back like Messam in the backfield, getting down to the one-yard line is not a bad thing, because you know you’re going to get a touchdown,” Michel said. “You always want that touchdown, but to catch that ball in the end zone felt great.”

Calgary coach Dave Dickenson praised all of his players for their efforts to lead the Stamps to the largest margin of victory in franchise history, surpassing the previous record of 50 points that was set in 1963 and equalled in 1995.

“I don’t really care who scores and who doesn’t as long as the team scores,” Dickenson said. “I thought we actually blocked pretty well tonight too. I saw some pretty big holes in there. Usually when your run game’s going like that obviously the big guys are doing a good job. That’s big for us. If we can be balanced, we’re a good team.”

The Stamps also came close to setting a new mark for most points scored in a game (62), a record that was set in 1994 and matched two years later.

Roy Finch returned a punt 97 yards into the end zone for the Stamps, who extended their winning streak at McMahon Stadium to 13 straight games.

Rookie running back Ante Milanovic-Litre ran for his first-career CFL touchdown, while Shaquille Richardson had an interception return for a TD.

Anthony Parker caught a touchdown pass from backup quarterback Andrew Buckley in the fourth quarter, while Rene Paredes kicked a field goal and Rob Maver booted a single.

Buckley is the first Canadian quarterback to throw a touchdown pass since Brandon Bridge on Nov. 8, 2015.

All the Tiger-Cats (0-5) could muster was a single by Sergio Castillo in the first half.

“It snowballed on us,” said Hamilton coach Kent Austin. “It just got out of control. They had five big plays on us in the first half. We talked all week long about not giving up the big play.

“It’s a humiliating loss. They played great. They’re a good football team and we’ve got to find answers.”

It was Hamilton’s second largest margin of defeat in club history. The worst loss (68 points) was back in 1956 when Hamilton dropped an 82-14 decision to Montreal.

Afterwards, Austin said he told his players to put the loss behind them heading into their next tough road test against the Edmonton Eskimos (5-0) next Friday night.

“It was about how to handle situations like this and the type of men that we’re going to be and what we’re going to demonstrate,” Austin said. “And what life does to you does not matter. It’s how you respond to diversity. It’s going to be an indication of the quality of men that we have.”

Paredes booting a 43-yard field goal to cap off Calgary’s second drive of the game at 12:05 of the first quarter. Calgary receiver Kamar Jorden went down with a leg injury on the drive and didn’t return.

After the Ticats went two-and-out, Finch picked up Castillo’s punt at his own 13-yard line and ran it back into the Hamilton end zone.

Early in the second quarter, Michel hauled in a 40-yard pass from Mitchell to get the Stamps to Hamilton’s one-yard line. On the next play, Messam scored his first TD of the game before Mitchell tossed a short pass to offensive lineman Spencer Wilson for a two-point convert.

Richardson then picked off an errant pass by Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros and ran it back for a 47-yard score before Maver kicked a 54-yard single to put the Stamps up 25-0.

Michel continued his strong game as he hauled in a 60-yard pass to get the Stamps to the three-yard line to set up another TD by Messam.

After Castillo kicked a 53-yard single to get the Ticats on the board, Michel finally hauled in a touchdown pass of his own when he out-battled Hamilton defensive back Justin Rogers to come down with the ball in the end zone.

“It was just a great ball,” Michel said. “It was just one of those things where you’ve got to go up and squeeze and I squeezed and the ball was in my arms and I came down with the touchdown.”

The Stamps started off the second half with an eight-play, 69-yard drive that was capped off by another one-yard touchdown run by Messam.

Milanovic-Litre then got in on the action as he ran for an eight-yard score at 9:17 of the third quarter before Parker caught a 10-yard TD pass from Buckley early in the final quarter.