Brandon Banks leads Ticats to blowout win over hapless Alouettes

Having been on the losing end of more than a few blowouts early this season, it was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ turn to lay a smackdown on Sunday afternoon.

Brandon Banks scored two touchdowns and racked up 240 all-purpose yards as the Ticats thumped the Montreal Alouettes 43-16 on a lovely afternoon at Percival Molson Stadium, winning a match up between two teams already eliminated from the CFL playoffs. While Hamilton started the season with an eight-game losing streak, the Alouettes have now lost nine in a row.

After trading two-and-outs, the Ticats opened the scoring after generating the game’s first turnover off an interception from former Alouette Don Unamba. Kicker Kenny Allen connected from 25 yards out to give the visitors an early 3-0 advantage.

Montreal quarterback Darian Durant put together a nice drive in response, connecting with Ernest Jackson for a 15-yard touchdown pass to cap it. But the offence would struggle for the rest of the half as six of their eight drives would go two-and-out and the Alouettes wouldn’t score again until late in the fourth with the game well out of reach.

Meanwhile, the Ticats poured on the points. Allen hit three more field goals, including a 48 yarder, while Brandon Banks returned a punt 65 yards to pay dirt, his first special teams touchdown since July 2016, also against Montreal.

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli finally got the offence into the end zone late in the second with Mike Jones making a nice diving grab in the front corner of the end zone for the major. It gave the Ticats a 26-7 lead heading into half time.

Having mustered just 93 yards in the first half, the Alouettes replaced Durant with rookie Matt Shiltz but the Ticats blitzed him repeatedly and he was largely ineffective. Meanwhile, the Ticats added ten more points in the third off a long touchdown pass from Masoli and Banks and another Allen field goal.

After Hamilton running back Alex Green scored yet another major early in the fourth, a sequence happened that perfectly summed up the Alouettes effort on this day. After moving the ball to the Hamilton one-yard line, Montreal took a penalty and was ultimately forced to settle for a field goal… which they promptly botched.

Zach Collaros replaced Masoli halfway through the final quarter, completing two of three passes for 24 yards before giving way to Everett Golson with under three minutes to play. Masoli finished with 320 yards on 19 of 28 passing and two touchdowns. The Ticats did not turn the ball over.

With the win, the Ticats improve to 5-11 and still have a chance to match last season’s 7-11 mark. The team is also 5-3 under new head coach June Jones, who continues to make a strong case to be brought back next season. If there’s a downside to the win, it’s that the Ticats are all but assured of finishing ahead of the now 3-13 Alouettes, foregoing any chance of the first overall pick in next spring’s CFL Draft.

The Ticats travel to Ottawa next Friday in a game that will mean something to the Redblacks, who are a point behind the Toronto Argonauts in the race for first place in the East and a first round bye. With the playoffs out of reach, Hamilton will at least get the chance to play the role of spoiler.

Drew Edwards is the founder of 3DownNation but has since wandered off. Beard in the photo not exactly as shown.