News, notes and roster changes ahead of Friday’s game between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Winnipeg.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-10) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (10-3)
Investors Group Field
Fri., Oct. 6
Game time: 8:30 p.m. EST
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150
The storyline for Hamilton: The Ticats still control their own playoff destiny but just barely: a loss to Winnipeg combined with an Ottawa victory in B.C. on Saturday would leave Hamilton needing to win out in order to make the post-season – including next week’s home date against powerhouse Calgary. One lingering question: will there be any after effects from last week’s devastating home loss in Toronto in which Hamilton blew a late fourth quarter lead and lost in overtime?
Key injuries and roster changes: Veteran running back C.J. Gable was traded to Edmonton this week, ending his five-year tenure with the club. Alex Green, who had 140 yards in a win over B.C. two weeks ago, takes over the starting role. Canadian defensive tackle Ted Laurent returns from injury while the diminutive Willie Quinn – he’s 5-foot-5 – makes his first CFL start in place of the injured Demarr Aultman. Veteran defensive backs Demond Washington (injury) and Emanuel Davis (coach’s decision) are out this week as Hamilton revamps their secondary.
Five funky Hamilton stats:
1. Last week’s 14-point lead was the largest lead Hamilton has blown since Sept. 25, 2010 when Saskatchewan beat Hamilton 32-25 after being down 15-0.
2. Each of the five games under June Jones have been decided by eight points or less. It is their longest streak of ‘one possession’ games since 2004.
3. Jeremiah Masoli is 7-6 since the start of 2016. All other Hamilton quarterbacks are 3-15 as starters in that time. Masoli has now thrown 77 straight passes without an interception.
4. The Ticats have lost three straight to the Bombers and have been outscored 104-47. Winnipeg has a plus-12 turnover ratio in those games.
5. The Tiger-Cats have been outscored 130-54 in the fourth quarter and overtime this season.
The storyline for Winnipeg: The Bombers are 10-3 and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Hamilton and losses by Saskatchewan and Edmonton (add a B.C. loss and they’d add a home playoff date as well.) After showing steady progress the last two seasons under head coach Mike O’Shea, the Bombers are trying to establish themselves as one the CFL’s elite and real Grey Cup contender.
Key injuries and roster changes: The Bombers are remarkably healthy with just four players on the injured list (the Ticats have 11.) They are missing veteran receiver Weston Dressler, all-star Canadian defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman as well as linebacker Ian Wild. The only change this week sees Canadian receiver Julio Feoli-Gudino come off the roster with Drew Wolitarsky added.
Five funky Winnipeg stats:
1. Over the last five games, running back Andrew Harris needs to average 56.4 yards per game receiving and 41.4 yards per game rushing to be the first CFL player in history to hit 1,000 in both categories in a single season.
2. At 10-3, the Bombers are off to their best record since an 11-2 season-opening run in 2001. Should they win out, Winnipeg would set a new club record for wins in a season with 15.
3. The Bombers have won five in a row at home – their longest winning streak at Investors Group Field – and are now No. 3 in CFL attendance averaging 28,576 fans per game. They are now up 16-26 .380 all-time at their new stadium.
4. With a miss last week, Justin Medlock’s streak of 32-yard one-point converts ended at 82 in a row. It was the longest streak since the convert was moved back in 2015.
5. Matt Nichols has the highest quarterback rating in the CFL at 90.2, ahead of Bo Levi Mitchell of the Calgary Stampeders at 84.7.
TSN play-by-play: Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor
Referee: Al Bradbury
Weather: Clear, 15 degrees, winds out of the Southwest at 25 km/h.