Benoit Marion returned a 24-yard blocked punt for the go-ahead touchdown to rally the Toronto Argonauts to a wild 34-20 home win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night.
After Trevor Hoyte blocked Michael Domagala’s punt, Marion recovered the loose ball and ran it in 2:37 into the fourth quarter to break a 17-17 tie. Toronto looked set to take the lead at 1:14, but Boris Bede’s 44-yard field goal was wide, courtesy of a terrible snap, the single tying the game.
Seth Small’s 17-yard field goal at 8:53 brought Hamilton within 24-20. He was helped by Hamilton’s successful challenge of a 38-yard pass interference call on Toronto’s Royce Metchie on Ticats receiver Tim White.
It thrilled BMO Field gathering 11,623 people on a night where Lady Gaga and Drake also performed at the Rogers Center and Budweiser Stage, respectively.
Chris Edwards cemented the win, returning a Dane Evans interception 40 yards out for a touchdown at 13:12.
Edwards wants to wrap this up😴🛏️
Evans was 28 of 42 passes for 302 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Toronto starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson completed 17 of 27 attempts for 230 yards and a touchdown.
Toronto (4-3) remained atop the East Division with the win. Hamilton (2-6) is tied for second with the Montreal Alouettes (2-6). The Argos overcame a 14-6 halftime deficit by outscoring the Ticats 28-6 in the second half, including 18-3 in the fourth.
It was the seventh time in eight games this season that Hamilton had been outclassed in the second half. The Ticats have especially struggled in the fourth quarter, having been outscored 95-29 in the final quarter so far.
YES SIR @benoit_marion13‼️‼️
Saturday’s match was the first of four between the longtime rivals over the next five weeks. The two teams will face off again in Hamilton on Friday night before the Ticats meet the Argos again on August 26.
The four-game series culminates with the annual Labor Day Showdown on Sept. 5 at Tim Hortons Field.
Cam Phillips scored Toronto’s other touchdown while Andrew Harris had a two-point convert. Bede kicked three field goals and a convert with the rest of the points on a safety.
Don Jackson had Hamilton’s touchdown. Small kicked four field goals and a convert while Domagala added a single.
Toronto moved closer to 17-16 after Domagala gave up a safety at 13:16 of the third. It came after Lawrence Woods III opted to return John Haggerty’s booming 65-yard punt over Hamilton’s goal line and was tackled after just a three-yard return.
Bethel-Thompson capped a three-game 70-yard walk with a 13-yard strike off Phillips at 7:45. Then he found Harris on the two-point convert to cut Hamilton’s lead to 17-14. Small’s 22-yard field goal at 6:07 gave the Ticats a 17-6 advantage.
But the scoreline flattered Toronto as Hamilton had 219 net offensive yards in the first half, compared to just 88 for the Argos. The Ticats also had the ball for 17 minutes nine seconds.
Bede’s 44-yard field goal at 5:14 of the second cut Hamilton’s lead to 13-3 after Small connected for 28 yards at 1:43.
Evans capped off a smart 87-yard, 10-play drive with a nine-yard strike against Jackson at 11:43 of first to give Hamilton a 10-0 lead. It came after Small opened the scoring with a 28-yard field goal at 3:56.