C.J. Gable and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats finally have something to smile about. Gable’s one-yard TD run with 2:30 remaining earned Hamilton its first win of the season, a lightning-delayed 24-22 decision over the Toronto Argonauts on Monday night.
The victory not only halted an ugly eight-game losing streak, but capped a miserable week highlighted by the franchise rescinding its controversial decision to hire former Baylor coach Art Briles.
“All the things that happened this week I think pulled everybody together,” said Hamilton coach June Jones, who won his CFL head-coaching debut. “In tough times teams come together and I think that’s what happened this week.
“The guys put it on themselves to make a difference and we did.”
Gable scored after Jones successfully challenged a pass interference call against former Ticat Rico Murray, who was defending Luke Tasker in the endzone. That gave Hamilton the ball at the Toronto one-yard line.
The Argos drove to the Hamilton 30-yard line but Lirim Hajrullahu missed a 37-yard field goal that went for a single with 45 seconds remaining. Toronto got the ball at its 35-yard line with two seconds left but backup Cody Fajardo couldn’t pull out the miracle victory.
Jones was promoted to head coach following Hamilton’s 37-18 loss to Ottawa on Aug. 18 when vice-president of football operations Kent Austin relinquished those duties. Last Monday, Jones hired long-time friend Briles as a Ticats assistant.
The 61-year-old Briles was fired last year as head coach at Baylor in the wake of a sexual assault scandal that included members of the football team. Less than 12 hours after hiring Briles, the Ticats reversed the decision amid pressure from the CFL and a serious backlash from fans, sponsors and the media.
Following Hamilton’s decision, a letter of support written by Baylor’s general counsel for Briles emerged. Then came word the Ticats had recently worked out Johnny Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner who was released in March 2016 following two turbulent seasons with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.
Ignoring the noise
There were also reports the Ticats had discussed trading veteran quarterback Zach Collaros to the…