Jeremiah Masoli threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Ottawa Redblacks 39-36 in double overtime Friday night to secure a playoff spot.
Ottawa’s Chris Milo opened the scoring when he booted a 46 yard field goal 2:45 into the game and Hamilton’s Brett Maher answered back with a 38 yard field goal.
Henry Burris picked on new Ticats halfback Derrius Brooks when he connected with Earnest Jackson on an 11 yard touchdown to give the Redblacks a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter.
After Ottawa defensive back Forrest Hightower intercepted Jeremiah Masoli, Henry Burris was picked off by Hamilton defensive tackle Michael Atkinson would made an outstanding diving catch at the Ottawa 5 yard line to end the first period.
But the Cats had to settle for a Maher 12 yard field goal that cut Ottawa’s lead to 10-6.
Milo responded with his second field goal of the game, a 34 yarder, to put the Redblacks ahead 13-6.
The Tiger-Cats had another first and goal from the Redblacks 5 yard line but Masoli was picked off by Antoine Pruneau at the goal line and returned it to the Ottawa 47.
That led to an 18 yard TD pass by Burris to Juron Criner to stretch Ottawa’s lead to 20-6.
Hamilton’s Chris Davis recovered a Tristan Jackson fumble on a punt return at the Ottawa 15 and a couple of plays later Masoli threw a 4 yard TD to make it 20-12.
Maher missed the extra point, only his second miss of the season.
Burris and the defending East Division champions raced down the field in their final drive of the first half, which ended with a two yard touchdown run by former Ticat running back Mossis Madu.
Hamilton hit the scoreboard early in the third frame when Jeff Mathews scored on a one yard TD leap, but the ensuring two point conversion failed, making it 27-18 for Ottawa.
Ticats linebacker Larry Dean recovered a botched snap by the Redblacks at the Hamilton goal line to prevent another Ottawa touchdown but they could not convert that turnover into points.
Maher missed a 37 yard field goal with 2:21 to play in the 3rd quarter to make it 27-19 and Masoli followed suit with a 19 yard major to John Chiles to make it 27-26 for Ottawa.
But Burris and Jackson struck again, this time on a four yard touchdown, to extend the Redblacks’ lead to 33-26 after Milo missed the extra point attempt.
Tiger-Cats slotback Andy Fantuz not only cracked the 1,000 yard receiving mark in the game he also broke Darren Flutie’s team record of 98 catches in a season (1998) when he hauled in catch number 99 and 100.
The Ticats tied the game at 33-all with 4:15 to play in the game when Masoli floated a 5 yard TD toss to CJ Gable who carried a couple of Ottawa tacklers across the goal line.
Maher drilled a 17 yard field goal in the first OT period and Milo tied it with a 45 yarder.
And after John Chick stripped the ball away from Burris, Maher kicked a 38 yard field goal to give Hamilton a 39-36 victory.
7-9 Hamilton returns home next Friday night against the Edmonton Eskimos before closing out the regular season at home against Montreal.