HAMILTON - Chad Kelly threw two touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the Toronto Argonauts past the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31-15 on Friday night.
Toronto (5-0) remained the CFL's lone unbeaten team and replicated its modern-day club record of 5-0 established in 1960. The Argos improved to 2-0 this season versus their arch rivals and have won eight of their last nine head-to-head matchups overall.
Rookie quarterback Taylor Powell, in his first CFL start, pulled Hamilton to within 23-15 with a 13-yard TD run at 10:04 of the fourth quarter. That appeared to wake Toronto's offence up as it countered with a six-play, 73-yard drive that Kelly capped with a one-yard touchdown at 12:57.
Hamilton (2-4) suffered its first loss in three games, to the dismay of the Tim Hortons Field sellout crowd of 24,312. The Ticats were also looking to avenge their 32-14 defeat to Toronto at BMO Field on June 18.
Kelly completed 20-of-27 passes for 306 yards and the two TDs. It was his second straight 300-yard performance.
Powell finished 27-of-41 passing for 281 yards and an interception. He also ran three times for 22 yards.
Cameron Dukes, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and DaVaris Daniels had Toronto's touchdowns. Boris Bede added two converts and a field goal while John Haggerty had a single.
Marc Liegghio booted three field goals for Hamilton.
Liegghio's 25-yard field goal 42 seconds into the fourth quarter pulled Hamilton to within 23-9. The Ticats drove to Toronto's three-yard line on the final play of the third but rather than facing second-and-goal, the home team was pushed back to the Argos' 18-yard line following a 15-yard misconduct penalty to offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg.
Bede's 17-yard boot at 5:27 of the third put Toronto ahead 23-6.
Liegghio connected from 32 yards out at 1:25 to pull Hamilton to within 20-6. It followed Tyreik McAllister's 71-yard kickoff return to the Argos' 27-yard line.
Liegghio's 19-yard field goal at 13:13 of the second quarter cut Toronto's halftime advantage to 20-3. The smart 10-play, 55-yard march included Nic Cross's onside punt recovery.
But Hamilton ended the half with just 137 net offensive yards, compared to 259 for Toronto. And the Argos were a solid six-of-11 on second down while the Ticats converted just three-of-11 attempts.
Toronto also amassed 14 first downs, more than twice as many as Hamilton (six). And Kelly was 15-of-19 passing for 248 yards and two TDs.
Kelly staked Toronto to a 20-0 advantage with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Daniels at 6:06. It was set up by Jamal Peters's interception, which he initially returned for a TD but the Argos were flagged for an illegal block call.
Kelly found Gittens with an eight-yard TD strike at 4:01 to put Toronto ahead 14-0. Kelly accounted for the entire seven-play, 71-yard drive, completing six-of-seven passes for 86 yards, the extra 15 yards coming on an Argos unnecessary roughness call..
Dukes opened the scoring with a one-yard TD run at 3:32 of the first. It capped a seven-play, 66-yard march - including Dejon Brissett's spectacular one-handed, 50-yard catch on second-and-11 - after Toronto took the ball after winning the toss.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2023.