CFL: Hamilton Tiger-Cats hurdle Argonauts in bounce back win

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats leaned on both of their available quarterbacks to earn a big 34-27 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night at Tim Hortons Field.

Matthew Shiltz got the start in place of the injured Dane Evans but left the game at the start of the third quarter with a lower body injury. Jamie Newman took control of the offence in the third, until Shiltz returned to orchestrate the game-winning touchdown drive that gave the Ticats a much-needed win against their arch rivals.

Shiltz made 14-19 passes for 176 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Newman made 2-2 passes for four yards and ran seven times for 55 yards and a touchdown.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson made 24-37 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown.

Andrew Harris left the game in the second quarter with an upper body injury and spent the remainder of the night on the Argos’ sideline. A.J. Ouellette filled in for Harris and had 10 carries for 47 yards.

Trailing 21-14 at half, the Ticats scored 17 fourth-quarter points to get their third win of the season. The win will resonate in the Ticats’ locker room, a week after the Argos used a strong second half to pry a win away from them at BMO Field.

» Box Score: Argos at Ticats by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Toronto at Hamilton
» Watch: Argos capitalize on interception, find end zone

The game got off to an odd start, with the Argos taking a delay of game penalty at the kickoff, sending Boris Bede to the 20-yard line to get the game going.

The Ticats got on the board first, on a drive that was sparked by a 47-yard punt return from Lawrence Woods. Argos’ punter John Haggerty made what was likely a touchdown-saving tackle on the play, but took a facemask penalty in the process. While that got the Hamilton offence to Toronto’s 32-yard line, Shiltz was unable to get the ball into the end zone. The Ticats settled for a 21-yard field goal from kicker Seth Small.

Toronto got a single at the end of their ensuing offensive drive, making it a 3-1 game at 10:39.

The Argos took advantage of Shiltz on his next pass attempt. Third-year defensive lineman Robbie Smith got his hands on a Shiltz pass and ran it 32 yards to the Ticats’ five-yard line. Backup QB Chad Kelly came in on short yardage and got a nudge into the end zone from receiver Brandon Banks at 12:13. Bede’s convert gave the Argos an 8-3 lead.

Small helped chip into the lead to open the second quarter with a 43-yard field goal, but Bede answered from 47 yards out just two minutes later to keep the Argos up five, at 11-6.

After a 19-yard gain on the ground from Don Jackson, Shiltz looked deep to the end zone for Lemar Durant, but appeared to be intercepted by Maurice Carnell. The play immediately moved back to the two-yard line thanks to a defensive pass interference call. Newman came from the sideline and ran it in from two yards out to put the Ticats back in front. Shiltz then found Kiondre Smith for the two-point convert and just like that, the home team was up 14-11 at 4:46.

Bethel-Thompson put together a drive that featured a 44-yard hookup with Tommy Nield and a 33-yard connection with Markeith Ambles, but had to settle on watching Bede send the ball through the uprights again, this time from 23 yards out. Bede’s field goal tied the game 14-14 at 13:16.

The final 90 seconds of the half ended up being a penalty-heavy stretch that saw a Hamilton interception overturned and a would-be Argos’ field goal attempt wiped out by a pyramiding call against the Ticats. Given a fresh set of downs after that call, Bethel-Thompson found DaVaris Daniels from six yards out for the go-ahead touchdown. Bede’s convert went through with 12 seconds left in the half. Toronto took a 21-14 lead into the half.


Newman took to the field for the Ticats to open the third quarter, as Shiltz left the sideline with a lower body injury and went back to the locker room. On a run-heavy drive, Newman led the Ticats to the Argos’ 30-yard line. Small’s 37-yard field goal cut the Toronto lead down to four at 4:37.

Hamilton’s defence stood its ground and kept Toronto at bay in the red zone, which sent Bede out for his third field goal attempt of the night. His 23-yarder went through at the 10-minute mark to restore the Argos’ one-score lead, 24-17.

After knocking on the door in return game all night, Woods appeared to have had his breakthrough early in the fourth quarter. He made it to the end zone, but the play came back on a holding call against Micah Johnson. That brought the drive back to Hamilton’s 40-yard line.

That didn’t deter Shiltz, who checked back in at the start of the fourth quarter. After the Ticats’ QBs had relied on their rushing ability much of the night, Shiltz aired out a 60-yard pass to Tim White, who took the ball to the end zone at 4:20 of the fourth. Small’s convert tied the game at 24 aside.

Newman made a return on a second-and-one play with just under four minutes to go. He picked up 30 yards off the snap. That led to a Shiltz handoff to Sean Thomas-Erlington, who trotted 23 more yards for his second touchdown of the season. Small’s convert sailed through and put the Ticats up 31-24 at 11:50.

The Ticats’ defence rode the wave that the offence created, with Micah Johnson sacking Bethel-Thompson and Simoni Lawrence — who shook off a concerning-looking injury in the second half to continue playing — took down Ouellette on the run to quell their attempt at evening the score.

The good vibes proved contagious for the Ticats. Small stuck a 46-yard field goal with two minutes to play and pushed Hamilton’s lead to 10. Thinking of the point total for the season series, the Argos had Bede kick an 18-yard field goal to close the game out.

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