Jeremiah Masoli threw for 338 yards, three touchdowns and added one rushing as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats dominated the Toronto Argonauts 64-14 in CFL action Saturday at BMO Field.
The win tied a team record for largest margin of victory; the previous mark was a 65-15 win against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1999, where Hamilton would finish the season 11-7 and achieved its last Grey Cup title to date.
Despite the tremendous performance from the Tiger-Cats, who moved their record to 2-0, head coach Orlondo Steinauer believes there are still improvements to be made.
“I’m proud of the way we battled, but we’ve got things to clean up,” said Steinauer, during his post-game media availability. “We did things well in all three phases but we’re nowhere near where we need to be. I know the score would suggest otherwise, but we know that inside.
“We’re still going to enjoy the win though.”
Although Hamilton controlled most of the play in the first half, five penalties for 50 yards and a few narrowly missed throws by Masoli had them with just a 20-6 lead at the break.
Steinauer felt underwhelmed and preached simplicity during the intermission.
“I thought we were underachieving going into halftime,” said the 46-year-old. “We caught some breaks but also capitalized on some turnovers.
“I just told them we need to focus on ourselves, stay disciplined. We encourage our guys to make their play—make the play that comes to you —everybody wants to make the big play but that’s not how the game unfolds.”
The Tiger-Cats would listen to their first year CFL head coach and began the third quarter with back-to-back touchdown drives to extend their lead to 34-6.
It was the second score that had the Argonauts (0-1) defence exploited with a phenomenal off-balance throw by the 30-year-old quarterback to a wide-open Nikola Kalinic.
As the pocket collapsed and Masoli’s footing escaped him, the San Francisco native was unsure if the throw would even reach his wide-open target.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 22, 2019
“I was crossing my fingers hoping I got enough of it,” said Masoli, to reporters.
“It was a tough one, they came off the edge and blitzed I pressed too hard—I was just hoping I got enough cause there was nobody around him [Kalinic].”
That touchdown reception was the first catch and touchdown of Kalinic’s career. The Toronto native was a 2019 second round (10th overall) draft pick for Hamilton.
“I didn’t think it [my first touchdown] would come this early but you never know when they can call your number and make you make that play,” said Kalinic, following the game in the team’s locker room.
During the broadcast, a great moment took place where the former York University product’s closest friends showcased their support.
“They’re amazing, they always travel home or away,” said Kalinic.
“It’s awesome to see them here. After I came off the field one of my teammates told me they got on the broadcast — I thought it was crazy and hilarious.”
What a memory for the Ticats Nikola Kalinic scoring his first CFL TD at BMO, and celebrating in the stands with a dozen of his childhood friends all wearing his jersey #84. One of the best moments I’ve seen covering the CFL. I’m guessing the party will go late into the night.
— Chris Cuthbert (@CCpxpSN) June 23, 2019
Hamilton’s offence was no joke Saturday, as they amassed 600 yards but were held back by 10 penalties for 100 yards.
As the Tiger-Cats look ahead to their home matchup with the Montreal Alouettes June 28, Coach Steinauer wants to limit their offensive setbacks if they are going to be competing for a Grey Cup in November.
“We have to continually get better, it’s something we are coaching,” said Steinauer. “If you’re trying to reach the ultimate goal you have to eliminate mistakes.”