Ticats claw back, but comeback falls short against Bombers

Andrew Harris combined for 128 yards and one touchdown as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers held off a late charge and defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 29-23 on Friday.

The victory tied the Bombers (5-3) with Edmonton (5-3) for second place in the CFL West Division in front of 26,454 fans at Investors Group Field.

Harris had 16 carries for 82 yards with a three-yard TD run and caught four passes for 46 yards.

Receiver Weston Dressler caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Nichols and receiver Nic Demski hung on to a 34-yard TD throw.

Justin Medlock kicked field goals from 23 and 33 yards for Winnipeg, went wide on a 54-yard attempt and was good on three converts.

Alex Green ran in a pair of one-yard TDs for Hamilton (3-5) and Brandon Banks caught a 15-yard TD pass from Jeremiah Masoli. The two-point convert attempt after Banks’s TD was incomplete.

Banks finished with a game-high six catches for 106 yards.

Ticats kicker Lirim Hajrullahu connected on a 39-yard field goal, was good on two converts and also conceded a safety.

Nichols completed 13-of-24 passes for 180 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Masoli was 17-of-27 passing for 251 yards with one TD and no picks.

Winnipeg led 14-7 after the first quarter and 19-7 at halftime.

The Ticats were down 26-10 midway through the third quarter when they attempted to mount a comeback.

Banks hung on to a Masoli pass in the end zone to cap an 11-play, 84-yard drive at 15:00 of the third. Masoli was chased backwards during the two-point convert attempt and threw an incomplete pass to make it 26-16.

On Hamilton’s next series, Banks stayed inbounds for an 18-yard pass to get to Winnipeg’s 32-yard line. Masoli ran 23 yards to Winnipeg’s one and Green punched his way over the goal line at 4:00 of the fourth quarter. Hajrullahu’s convert was good to squeeze the score 26-23.

With 6:31 left in the fourth, Winnipeg got the ball at midfield and started chipping away to the end zone. Backup quarterback Chris Streveler was good on two short-yardage runs and receiver Daniel Petermann made a 15-yard catch.

The Bombers ended up having Medlock boot a 33-yard field goal with 1:22 left to make it 29-23.

Hamilton started at their own 47-yard line, but Masoli went incomplete on a long pass to Chris Williams and then an incompletion was a turnover on downs.

The Ticats had started the game on a positive note.

After the Bombers went two and out in the game’s opening series, Green scored at 4:59 of the first quarter to finish a six-play, 75-yard drive that included a 37-yard catch by Banks.

Winnipeg responded with a 55-yard kickoff return by Demski and a 29-yard run by Harris that helped set up Dressler’s 10-yard TD catch at 8:06.

Dressler now has at least one reception in 120 straight games, tying him for eighth place with Craig Ellis on the CFL all-time list for consecutive games with a reception. However, he was injured stretching for a pass in Winnipeg’s next series. He didn’t line up as a receiver for the rest of the game, but still held for Medlock on field goals.

Hamilton lost leading-receiver Jalen Saunders to an injury in the first half.

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