Kackert's touchdowns lead Argonauts to 45-31 victory over Ticats
Toronto Argonauts running back Chad Kackert (left) dives over Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Armando Murillo to score a touchdown during second half CFL action in Toronto on Saturday September 8, 2012. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Saturday, September 8, 2012 4:21PM EDT
TORONTO -- Chad Kackert's three rushing touchdowns powered the Toronto Argonauts past the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-31 on Saturday to give them a sweep of their Labour Day series.
Kackert's 43-yard TD run in the first quarter opened the scoring but it was his acrobatic 11-yard touchdown scamper at 2:36 of the fourth that cemented the win for Toronto (6-4).
The five-foot-nine, 192-pound Kackert -- who became the backfield starter when veteran Cory Boyd was released last month -- launched himself into the air at about the three-yard line before landing out of bounds, but got credit for the score following a successful challenge by Toronto.
Kackert brought the generously announced gathering of 23,061 with the Rogers Centre roof closed to its feet with a 39-yard touchdown run at 9:19 in a game that, while sloppy at times, was exciting and featured a little bit of everything.
Kackert finished unofficially with 172 yards rushing and added six catches for 67 yards.
Toronto downed the slumping Ticats 33-30 on Monday at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Hamilton (3-7) has lost five straight and often was its own worst enemy with untimely penalties, including two roughing-the-passer calls that kept Argos drives alive.
Toronto moved into a first-place tie with Montreal (6-3) in the East Division. The Alouettes faced the defending Grey Cup-champion B.C. Lions (6-3) later Saturday in Vancouver.
The Argos improved to 4-1 against East Division rivals this season. Hamilton dropped to 2-4.
Jarious Jackson and Pat Watkins had Toronto's other touchdowns. Eric Wilbur, replacing the injured Swayze Waters, added five converts, three field goals and a single.
Sam Giguere, Onrea Jones and Andy Fantuz scored Hamilton's touchdowns. Chris Williams added a two-point convert while Luca Congi booted three field goals and two converts.
Hamilton gained a huge momentum swing when Dee Webb's interception halted Toronto's seven-play, 96-yard drive to open the second half. Still, it put the Ticats at their own five-yard line trailing 20-9.
Hamilton responded with an outstanding four-play, 106-yard march quarterback Henry Burris capped with a 35-yard TD pass to Giguere for his first CFL touchdown catch. Then Burris found Williams on the two-point covert to pull Hamilton to within 20-17 at 5:47.
Toronto countered with six-play, 63-yard scoring march that included Ricky Ray's 49-yard completion to Ken-Yon Rambo, making his first career start with the Argos. Jackson's one-yard TD run at 9:46 put the home team ahead 27-17.
Toronto missed another glorious scoring chance when Dontrelle Inman couldn't hold on to what would've been a 30-yard TD pass when he collided head-first with the padded goalpost. Amazingly, Inman remained but the Argos could only muster a single off Wilbur's missed 37-yard field goal try to go ahead 28-17 at 14:38.
Toronto led 20-9 at halftime in an opening half that hinged on three late plays.
Hamilton's Bakari Grant dropped what could've been a 38-yard TD pass. On the next play, Burris didn't see a wide-open Giguere in the end zone in time, allowing Pacino Horne to almost make the interception as the Ticats settled for Congi's 45-yard field goal that cut the Argos' lead to 13-9.
Watkins put Toronto ahead 20-9 by stepping in front of a Burris pass and returning it 27 yards at 8:27 of the second. It was the second straight game the Argos had recorded a pick-six against Hamilton, with Ahmad Carroll taking one back Monday.
Toronto seemed poised to put more points on the board before the half, driving to the Hamilton 33-yard line with under a minute remaining. However, the Argos came away with no points after Wilbur missed the 32-yard field goal to cap a 13-play, 63-yard drive.
NOTES: Defensive end Ejiro Kuale and Carroll, who returned an interception for a TD on Monday, were surprisingly among Toronto's scratches for the game. Neither took first-team reps in practice and talk was both were nicked up. Wilbur handled the kicking chores after Waters was put on the one-game injured list Friday night with a neck ailment. Waters booted the game-winning field goal Monday . . . Defensive lineman Rodney Harding, Toronto's career sacks leader with 92, was named to the All-Time Argos team Saturday. Harding spent 10 of his 12 CFL seasons with Toronto and became the 22nd player to be named to the squad.