TORONTO — Nick Arbuckle threw a TD pass and scored another as the Toronto Argonauts held on for a wild 17-16 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
Hamilton scored on Sean Thomas Erlington’s 20-yard run at 13:36 of the fourth quarter to make it a one-point game. But Michael Domagala’s tying convert attempt hit the upright.
Hamilton got the ball at the Toronto 50-yard line with 2:23 remaining thanks to a Cariel Brooks interception.
After the touchdown, Toronto took the ball to the Hamilton 52-yard line with 1:21 remaining and punted. That gave the Ticats possession at their 18-yard line with 13 seconds left and although Dave Watford threw two late completions, the Argos held on for the win.
Toronto (3-2) earned the narrow victory just four days after dropping a 32-19 decision to Hamilton (2-3) on Labour Day. The Argos improved to 2-0 at BMO Field this season while the Ticats suffered their first loss in three games.
The contest drew 9,702 spectators.
Hamilton finished the game with Watford at quarterback as starter Dane Evans remained on the sidelines when the Ticats’ offence came on the field with under six minutes remaining. Evans, who threw for 248 yards and two TDs on Labour Day, finished 19-of-27 passing for 192 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Watford finished 6-of-10 passing for 78 yards. Arbuckle completed 23-of-37 attempts for 236 yards with a TD and two interceptions.
D.J. Foster scored Toronto’s other touchdown. Boris Bede added the converts and a field goal.
Papi White had Hamilton’s other touchdown. Domagala added a convert and field goal while also punting as incumbent Joel Whitford (groin) was injured before the game.
Dogmala’s 28-yard field goal at 4:23 of the fourth pulled Hamilton to within 17-10. It came after Evans’ 19-yard run left the Ticats a yard short of a first down to effectively end a 60-yard, 11-play march.
The Ticats had a solid chance to cut into Toronto’s lead after Valentin Gnahoua’s deflection of Bede’s punt and ensuing no-yards penalty put them at the Toronto 51-yard line. But an incompletion and Shawn Oakman’s sack of Evans for a five-yard loss forced the punt.
Toronto opened the second half with a crisp 12-play, 79-yard march but had to settle for Bede’s 26-yard field goal at 6:56 of the third for a 17-7 lead.
Arbuckle had a TD pass and scored another to stake Toronto to a 14-7 halftime advantage. But the Argos certainly deserved better, holding the ball for over 18 minutes and accumulating 217 offensive yards (compared to 154 yards for Hamilton).,
Arbuckle had Toronto at the Hamilton 16-yard line in the second but was intercepted in the end zone by Hamilton’s Tunde Adeleke.
Evans pulled Hamilton to within 14-7 with a 39-yard touchdown pass to white at 4:32 of the second, completing a sharp 79-yard, four-play drive. It came after Foster’s 40-yard TD catch at 1:56.
Arbuckle opened the scoring with a one-yard TD run at 13:02 of the first to cap a 10-play, 54-yard march. It was aided by a successful challenge that turned an incompletion into a pass-interference call on Hamilton’s Kameron Kelly that put Toronto at the Ticats’ one-yard line.
And it marked the first time in three games that Hamilton had trailed on the scoreboard.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press