Ticats avoid trap game, crush Alouettes

by Grant Deme

Friday night’s contest could have been a trap game for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Coming off a 64-14 trouncing of their rival Argonauts, the 2-0 Ticats could have taken their foot off the gas against the lowly Alouettes.

Well, they didn’t.

Hamilton got 100-yard performances from three of their receivers, taking care of business and remaining undefeated as they took down Montreal 41-10.

The first quarter was stagnant from an offensive perspective. The Ticats recorded just one rushing yard and 48 total yards. Montreal had 89 yards but a pair of Hamilton sacks had Vernon Adams Jr. off balance, forcing him out of the pocket several times.

The Tabbies would finish the game with six sacks, three of which came courtesy of free agent addition Ja’Gared Davis.

That pressure forced Adams Jr. to toss an interception to veteran defensive back Cariel Brooks. That extra drive set Hamilton up in excellent field position, but Lirim Hajrullahu missed a 46-yard field goal attempt and the game remained scoreless after one.

The first drive in the second quarter for Hamilton resulted in the game’s first points. A first-down run from Sean Thomas-Erlington was followed by a 42-yard pass from Jeremiah Masoli to Brandon Banks, setting Hamilton’s offence up inside the five.

Masoli took a late helmet-to-helmet hit from Ryan Brown on the play, continuing the trend of quarterbacks being hit dangerously this season. Dane Evans later ran in the one-yard touchdown, giving Hamilton a 8-0 lead after the two point convert.

Masoli finished the night with 417 yards including a touchdown in the air and two more on the ground. He also threw three interceptions, while completing 25-of-31 pass attempts.

An onside attempt on the ensuing kickoff failed, giving Adams Jr. and the Als a short field to work with.

The former Oregon Duck was starting in place of an injured Antonio Pipkin. He couldn’t string together first downs and Boris Bede hit from 46-yards out and it was an 8-3 game.

Adams would finish 14-for-24 with 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Banks made quick work on the next drive. It started with a 20-yard catch and run and it finished with a 30-yard run two plays later, improving Hamilton’s score to 15. The drive took just 1:24.

Banks recorded seven receptions for 152 yards on the night, 80 of which came after the catch.

A sack from Dylan Wynn stuffed Montreal’s next drive, and the Ticats continued to move the ball well.

Sparked by a dazzling 63-yard punt return by Frankie Williams, Masoli found Bralon Addison for 24 of his 121 yards. That momentum came to a halt at the goal line.

Henoc Muamba stuffed Evans twice and stripped the football on third down, ending a promising drive and keeping it 15-3 at half. Muamba recorded eight tackles with one forced fumble.

Hamilton quickly recaptured the momentum in the third with Masoli finding Thomas-Erlington behind the secondary for a 75-yard major. A two point convert later and the lead was up to 20.

Matthew Shiltz played a series to start the second half for Montreal with Adams on the sideline. He went two-for-three but the offence went nowhere.

The Cats added another three to their lead but Banks was forced to leave the game briefly due to an apparent knee injury. He sat out for one play before burning down the field for a 47-yard gain as he limped out of bounds.

The Alouettes got six back before the fourth as Adams Jr. found rookie Jake Wieneke on a corner route for a 27-yard score. It was the Minnesota native’s first career CFL touchdown.

On what would’ve been the final play of the quarter, veteran defensive end John Bowman went down when his head ran into the shoulder of teammate Ryan Brown. Bowman was later cleared after undergoing concussion protocol and returned to the sidelines.

Masoli continued to control the game in the fourth, leading a seven-play drive ending in a nine-yard touchdown run by the pivot. The lead stretched to 34-10 with another two point convert. Masoli would punch it in once more on the next drive as the blowout continued, eventually concluding 41-10.

Montreal will look for their first win of the season against Hamilton in the back end of a home-and-home set next week.

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