HAMILTON — Jeremiah Masoli threw three first-half touchdown passes as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats captured an emotionally charged 40-10 win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday.
There was plenty of tension between the two teams after B.C. players danced on Hamilton’s centre-field logo during their walkthough Friday. Ticats players felt it was disrespectful while the Lions contended they meant nothing by it.
Tensions were high early with Hamilton receiver Brandon Banks and B.C. counterpart DeVier Posey exchanging words. The situation got testy enough that head referee Andre Proulx issued a warning to the Lions’ bench.
"It's loud out here, it's windy out here. It's always exciting playing in front of a crowd like that."- @JJ_Jennings10 on the challenge in Steel Town.
WATCH 🎥 pic.twitter.com/oXOmCY4Bwb
— BC Lions (@BCLions) September 29, 2018
Banks was a key figure for Hamilton (7-7), which earned its first win in three games and avenged last weekend’s 35-32 road loss to B.C. The five-foot-seven, 155-pound Banks had nine catches for 79 yards and two TDs after missing two games with a groin injury, delighting the announced Tim Hortons Field sellout of 23,623.
Hamilton’s defence did its part with Don Unamba and Mike Daly returning interceptions 29 and 58 yards, respectively for TDs. The Ticats moved to within two points of first-place Ottawa (8-5) in the East Division standings.
After a bye week, Hamilton visits the Toronto Argonauts (3-10) on Oct. 12. Masoli was 18-of-26 passing for 189 yards before giving way to Dane Evans in the fourth.
Hamilton’s John White IV ran for 107 yards on 15 carries.
B.C. (6-7) suffered its first loss in four games and remained tied for fourth in the West with Winnipeg (6-7), which faced Edmonton (7-6) later Saturday night. The Lions’ road woes continued as they fell to 1-6 away from B.C. Place.
Starter Jonathon Jennings was 17-of-25 passing for 146 yards with three interceptions before being replaced by Cody Fajardo in the third. Fajardo hit Shaq Johnson with a 13-yard TD strike at 6:12 of the fourth.
Daly’s pick-six at 13:25 of the third put Hamilton ahead 40-3. Lirim Hajrullahu hit from 51 yards out at 7:48, making him six-for-six from 50-plus yards this season.
Luke Tasker had Hamilton’s other touchdown. Hajrullahu booted four converts and two field goals.
B.C.’s Ty Long kicked a field goal and single.
Hajrullahu’s 24-yard field goal at 13:39 of the second staked Hamilton to an emphatic 30-3 halftime advantage. B.C. had a chance to cut into that advantage but Posey dropped Jennings’ TD pass to end the half.
Hamilton accumulated 260 offensive yards and held the ball for more than 18 minutes in the first half. Masoli was 14-of-18 passing for 175 yards while John White ran for 83 yards on 10 carries. Banks had eight catches for 75 yards
Jennings was 10-of-15 passing for 85 yards with two interceptions as B.C. amassed just 101 offensive yards in the first half.
Masoli’s eight-yard TD strike to Banks at 9:40 of the second put Hamilton ahead 27-3. It was set up by a 39-yard catch by Mike Jones, who got the ball after it went through Lions defender Anthony Orange’s hands.
Long put B.C. on the scoreboard with a 29-yard field goal at 5:51.
Hamilton surged to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and wasted little time opening the scoring with Masoli’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Tasker at 4:41. It capped an eight-play, 88-yard march on the Ticats’ first possession.
Unamba’s TD came at 5:29 on B.C.’s first play from scrimmage. Masoli hit Banks on a seven-yard touchdown pass at 9:31.
THE CANADIAN PRESS