With a chance to jump to first place in the East Division heading into the final week of the CFL season, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats instead coughed up a hairball against the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night.
The Argos dominated the Ticats 31-12 at BMO Field to improve to 9-4 and also secured first place in the East and thus earned a goodbye to the first-round playoffs.
Hamilton (7-6) secured a playoff spot last week, but could drop to third in the division if he loses his season finale against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 20 and Montreal wins its last two games.
Toronto shut out the Cats 14-0 in the first half thanks to a one-yard touchdown from backup QB Antonio Pipkin, as well as two field goals and a kickoff single by kicker Boris Bede.
QB McLeod Bethel Thompson completed 26 of 34 pass attempts for 250 yards and a 19-yard TD to Kurleigh Gitens Jr. early in the fourth quarter to give the Argos a dominant 24-3 lead.
After breaking it in recent weeks, Tiger-Cats center Jeremiah Masoli struggled for most of the game, completing 22 of 40 pass attempts for 326 yards, no touchdowns and was intercepted twice.
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Toronto’s second pick of Chris Edwards was returned for a 78-yard touchdown.
Kicker Taylor Bertolet kicked a 27-yard field goal but missed another two attempts at 35 and 48 yards, and catcher Tim White caught five receptions for 110 yards, Hamilton’s first 100-yard receiving performance this season.
Before the game, it was announced that the Hamilton Arkells rock band will headline the Gray Cup halftime show at Tim Hortons Field on December 12.
The Gray Cup will be played in Hamilton for the first time since 1996, when it was held at the Ivor Wynne Stadium.
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