EDMONTON — Jeremiah Masoli continues to prove he deserves to be ranked with the CFL's top quarterbacks.
Luke Tasker and Mercer Timmis each recorded a pair of touchdowns as Hamilton picked up its first win of the season, defeating the Edmonton Eskimos 38-21 on Friday. Masoli completed 19-of-29 pass attempts for three touchdowns, an interception and 332 yards for the Tiger-Cats.
"Hats off to our defence and how good they were," Masoli said. "All I can do is be as good as my teammates allow me to be.
"We have so much speed with our receivers, they made it easy for me."
Ticats head coach June Jones isn't at all surprised with how much confidence Masoli is playing with, despite former NFL quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel sitting on the bench behind him.
"I've been saying it and nobody seems to believe me," he said. "He has been pretty spectacular for as long as I have been here, 12 games.
"Jeremiah got out of some trouble and made plays which you need to do in this league. We are lucky to have him."
Manziel did not play for Hamilton (1-1) and is still waiting to make his on-field CFL regular season debut.
Quarterback Mike Reilly was 20 for 30 with two TDs, an interception and 286 yards for the Eskimos (1-1).
"I thought Jeremiah played a great game tonight," said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas. "He was very calm and collected back there. Even when we got pressure, he seemed to get out of it and find somebody. He did that on multiple times tonight. Some of that was on second and long, he made plays. My hat is off to Hamilton, they outplayed us tonight in all three phases and the scoreboard shows that."
Hamilton had a strong start to the game with a touchdown on its opening drive, a 15-yard passing strike from Masoli to Tasker.
Edmonton came flying back to tie it up just two plays later, though, as Reilly found a wide-open Duke Williams for a massive 88-yard passing TD.
The Tiger-Cats came right back themselves with a one-yard TD run by Timmis with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
Edmonton got a punt single to start the second before Hamilton extended its lead with a 45-yard passing TD from Masoli to Tasker to go up 21-8.
The Ticats added a 44-yard Lirim Hajrullahu field goal, but the Eskimos responded with a five-yard TD toss to Derel Walker that was set up by a 55-yard pass to Kenny Stafford. The two-point convert attempt failed, leaving the score 24-14 at the half.
Hamilton kept up the pace in the third quarter, with an 18-yard TD pass from Masoli to Brandon Banks.
Edmonton closed the gap a little with 4:37 remaining in the fourth on a one-yard TD plunge by Reilly.
However, the Ticats came right back with a 44-yard TD run by Timmis to put the game away.
Both teams return to action next Friday, with the Ticats playing their home opener against Winnipeg, while the Eskimos host the B.C. Lions.
Notes: The Eskimos, who were riddled with injuries in the 2017 campaign, already had 13 players on the six-game injured list coming into the game. Hamilton had two… Reilly passed Joe Paopao for 26th in all-time CFL passing… While not becoming the marathon the Eskimos experienced in Week 1 with storms in Winnipeg, the longest game in CFL history, Friday's game was also delayed 25 minutes due to lightning concerns.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press