Hamilton Tiger-Cats claw back to defeat the Edmonton Eskimos at home

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats take claim of the season series against the Edmonton Eskimos after a come from behind win, clinched by a field goal as time expired to seal the 25-24 win.

Despite falling to a 24-10 deficit by halftime, the Tiger-Cats defence held the Eskimos scoreless in the second half, allowing Jeremiah Masoli and the offence to claw back and take the win at home.

The Hamilton quarterback finished off the night with 419 yards and completing 27 of his 44 pass attempts. Although he threw two interceptions in the first half, his lone touchdown for the night came in a crucial time late in the fourth quarter as the Tabbies pushed for the victory.

Hamilton, coming off of a bye week, was hoping to run into a tired Eskimos team who faced a shortened week of practice ahead of their Thursday meeting, however, Edmonton had other plans after a slow start in the first quarter.

Hamilton QB Jeremiah Masoli threw for 419 yards and 1 TD Photo: Adam Gagnon, CFL.ca

Jeremiah Masoli’s night didn’t start off as planned after throwing an interception on the Ticats’ first play on offence.

However, that wouldn’t matter after the Eskimos went two-and-out, opening the way for the Ticats to then march down the field on a drive that started on their own 27-yard line. Nine plays later, Alex Green found paydirt from 10 yards out to put the Tabbies on the board, opening the game’s scoring. Green finished the night with over 100 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Hamilton’s defence continued to limit the damage of the Eskimos offence, forcing another two-and-out following the touchdown.

Since the interception, Masoli completed five of six passes for 100 yards before throwing an incompletion to Chris Williams in the end zone, bringing an end to their drive and having to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Lirim Hajrullahu.

The Tiger-Cats doubled up on the Green and Gold in time of possession, coming two seconds short of ten total minutes spent on offence.

Edmonton continued to struggle moving the ball against the Tiger-Cats defence and would only be able to notch a 52-yard field goal thanks to Sean Whyte.

On the ensuing offensive drive for Hamilton, Eskimos’ linebacker Chris Edward stripped Brandon Banks of the ball, which Josh Woodman pounced on.

Two plays later, Mike Reilly connected with Derel Walker for a 37-yard touchdown pass to draw the Esks even with Hamilton at 10-10 with just over five minutes remaining in the first half.

Shortly thereafter, the Eskimos found themselves back on offence. On second down, Reilly connected with the league’s leading receiver Duke Williams for a 95-yard bomb to pull ahead of the Ticats late in the second quarter.

Edmonton kept their foot on the gas, even in the final seconds of the half. Vidal Hazelton drew a pass interference call, which set up a 17-yard pass to Walker for his second touchdown of the game. The penalty was one of two defensive penalties against the Ticats in the first half which combined for 57 yards.

The scoring drive covered 74 yards in just four plays.

At halftime, the two teams headed to the locker rooms with the Eskimos ahead on the scoreboard 24-10.

Reilly overcame a slow start to throw just shy of 200 yards by halftime and three touchdowns, while his counterpart threw two interceptions and 157 yards. Both quarterbacks, despite the contrast in their ratio, had very similar completion percentages, hovering around 71 per cent.

The second half started off in a similar way as the first – with a turnover.

This time though, it would be Edmonton coughing the ball up on a fumble, setting the Ticats offence on the Eskimos’ 26-yard line, resulting in a 31-yard field goal three plays later.

The rest of the third was a seesaw as either team’s defences refused to budge, as there would be five punts through the remainder of the quarter.

Masoli and the Ticats’ offence faced a tough time in their attempt to claw back in the fourth quarter. An 84-yard completion to Mike Jones fell short after Masoli was unable to connect with a receiver on either of the two following plays, having to settle for three points with Hajrullahu’s third field goal of the night, narrowing Edmonton’s lead to 24-16.

The Ticats got hummin’ to keep those in attendance on the edge of their seat till the end on the ensuing offensive drive for Hamilton, connecting with Luke Tasker for a 51-yard touchdown to bring the Ticats within two with 2:37 remaining in the final quarter. The veteran receiver hauled in nine receptions for 156 yards for the night.

A quick two-and-out by the Eskimos gave the Ticats the ball with just over a minute remaining in the game for Jeremiah Masoli to work with, and that he did.

A completion to Terrence Toliver and a large gain by Alex Green on the ground put the Tabbies in perfect field position for Hajrullahu to kick the game-winning field goal to push the Black and Gold ahead, giving them the win and improve to 4-5 on the year.

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