Scouting report: Ticats head into Saskatchewan riding high

Coming off two straight wins, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats travel to Saskatchewan on Thursday to take on the Roughriders. The Riders are reeling after losing two straight, including a 23-17 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes last week at Mosaic Stadium. Here’s what you need to know:

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-1) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-2)
Thursday, July 5, 9 p.m. (EST)
Mosaic Stadium
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150

The Storyline: Just a few weeks ago, many CFL observers anticipated this game would be the tale of two quarterbacks and in a way it still is. Only, it’s not Johnny Manziel vs. Zach Collaros.  Jeremiah Masoli, the man who replaced Collaros in Hamilton, has been a one-man antidote for Manziel Mania.   He has earned one of the league’s Top Monthly Performer awards for the opening month and is looking for his CFL-record-tying ninth straight 300-yard passing game.  Meanwhile, Collaros is out with a concussion and Canadian Brandon Bridge gets his second straight start. He threw for three majors against Hamilton last year as the Riders took both 2017 games by building 17-0 leads. The Ticats need to avoid a repeat of that kind of deficit. The Riders, meanwhile need to avoid not scoring touchdowns. (Their offence has only three). If the Ticats go to 3-1 and the Riders fall to 1-3, the quarterback matchup won’t be the only pre-season prediction CFL pundits got wrong.

Key Hamilton Roster Notes: For the second straight week, Hamilton makes only one change in its starting 24 offensive and defensive players. Defensive end Adrian Tracy had a sack and three tackles before he was injured early against Winnipeg and is out. First-year Ticat Julian Howsare finished against the Bombers, and will start Thursday. Field side defensive halfback Richard Leonard is still out with nagging injuries and Frankie Williams repeats there. John White, the former CFL all-star running back with Edmonton, has recovered from the ACL that ended his 2017 season, and is on the active roster. Mariel Cooper comes on for Randall Evans as back up at SAM linebacker.


Key Saskatchewan Roster Notes: The biggie is the absence of Zach Collaros, who suffered a concussion against Ottawa two weeks ago and is on the six-game injury list. Neither Brandon Bridge, who starts again nor David Watford, who relieved last week, has been effective. They’re also not being protected very well. Takoby Cofield moves in at backup offensive lineman for Jarvis Harrison. The Riders recently signed guard Braden Schram – drafted 13th overall by the Ticats last year,  but released last week – but he is still on the practice roster. So is defensive back Matt Elam, a first-round choice of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens in 2013. He made 26 NFL starts but has had injury and legal problems. The Riders signed him earlier this week. Former Mac kicker Tyler Crapigna is out with season-ending surgery. Brett Lauther, who kicked six field goals in four 2013 games with the Ticats, has replaced him.

Nifty Numbers Worth Knowing

0: points the Ticats have scored off turnovers this season. Their four turnovers created are second last in the CFL to Toronto’s 2.

3: seasons in the last 26 years that one CFL team has had two different Canadians rush for 90 or more yards during that season, as Mercer Timmis and Sean Thomas Erlington have already done this year for Hamilton. Jerome Messam, Jon Cornish and Matt Walter each went over 90 for Calgary during 2015 and Cornish and Walter did it for the Stamps in 2014

4: sacks by Roughriders DE Charleston Hughes, twice as many as any other CFL player.

13: two-and-outs forced on Montreal by the Saskatchewan defence last week, most by a CFL team since September 2013 (Winnipeg, 14)

28: first-quarter points scored by the Ticats, tops in the league.

32: times Brandon Banks has been targeted for passes, five more than anyone else in the league. His 21 receptions also lead the CFL.

33:37: Ticats’ average time of possession per game, best in the league by 70 seconds over No. 2 Calgary

66: the overall CFL draft spot in which the Ticats selected both Sean Thomas Erlington in 2017 and Nick Parisotto this year. Parisotto is on the active roster, the lowest 2018 draft choice to make a CFL roster, and Thomas Erlington is the only eighth-rounder from last year who’s played both seasons. Receiver Richard Sindani (No. 70)   plays for the Stampeders this year and Alouettes fullback Oumar Toure (No. 65)  played  13 games last year but was released in June. No other 2017 eighth-rounders have played a CFL game.

66.7: average rushing yardage per game surrendered by the Saskatchewan defence, stingiest in the league by nearly 19 yards per game.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
Steve Milton
Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (243 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

26 Comments on Scouting report: Ticats head into Saskatchewan riding high

  1. That XX-XX defeat must’ve hurt I’m sure.

  2. How long will Tracy be out? A tough loss for the Cats!

  3. waveman // July 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm //

    you’re the only one that thought it would be manziel, steve, cause you believe your own headlines. well maybe bubba too from chch, but he knows even less about the cats. keep proping those leafs and raptors, maybe your dream will come true.
    go cats!

  4. Although it’s a heartwarming story to see Masoli play well … the CFL is leaving espn ratings and tix sales on the table by not playing Manziel somewhere.

    • Not the CFL’s call. Didn’t see anyone helping the Cats when they needed QB help.

    • Do you think that Manziel playing in Hamilton last week would have ensured a sellout? I think another 1,000 people may come and that’s about it. If he came to Sask next week and played… do you think they’d pack the place to see him? I think it would be the same amount. Remember Flutie… it didn’t really affect attendance. But I agree, ESPN and the major sports outlets in the USA might be interested to see his status.

      It’s a long season and anything can happen. I predict by Labour Day, he’ll be in there.

    • What ticket sales would those be Thad?

  5. Doug Mc Clintock // July 4, 2018 at 4:47 pm //

    Manziel is a good QB for sure but he must learn to be a good back up for Masoli. Injuries can change a team as they do so one never knows how a team reacts to the QB staying healthy. The guys do tackle a lot harder than in the past !

    • How is he a good QB after college he was done nothin. I’m sure he will be a good QB but he has shown zero pro proof.

  6. RalphInTheCreek // July 4, 2018 at 5:38 pm //

    To bad Green wasn’t back from injury we could of had White and Green playing against Skatch

  7. Hey Thad – winning has its own rewards! Jonny M will have his opportunity and he appears to be displaying a strong “team first” mentality – just what we need and certainly what he needed to develop. Masoli never complained and was ready when called upon. Although I hope he stays healthy, I see the new Jonny watching and learning – he’ll be ready IF needed. If ESPN viewers only tune in to see Jonny Football then they are missing a lot of exciting CFL action – too bad for them!

  8. Hughes is goin,’ “0 fer” against the ‘Cats tomorrow nite. Reasons? A. Jones will scheme for him. B. Hamilton’s O line is up there as one of the best in the league. C. Masoli’s quick release, or his quick, “read it and beat it” ability to roll out and buy time. D. TOP. With the Riders offence, Hamilton will have lots of offensive field time to wear down the Riders D.

  9. Use Whitlock to take out Hughes. Cat’s better keep on their toes….Hughes is a cheap shot artist.

  10. Ticats63 // July 4, 2018 at 8:26 pm //

    Nice to see a story on 3DownNation without any typos – thanks Milty.

    Good preview. We won’t see Manziel unless Masoli gets hurt or has a 4th quarter 20 point lead…..and the latter is possible tomorrow night, so stay tuned.

    This being a western based game, I hope that means we won’t have to endure another Black/Forde fiasco on TSN. Those guys seem to get worse every week, year after year.

    MUST have photos of some senior VP at CTV. That’s the only explanation for their continued employment.

  11. Philski // July 4, 2018 at 8:47 pm //

    There won’t be a repeat of 2017 for the TC’s – they’ll paste the Riders at Mosaic. Then they’ll further paste the Riders in the return match at THF. And Jeremiah will have earned himself another CFL record. Oskee Wee Wee!

    • Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your story regarding the 1971 Grey Cup. Getting pretty desperate when you have to refer back to 1971, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
      As a matter of interest, The Stones had a number 1 hit that year with Brown Sugar. Many, many years before the Cats theme song by Britney.
      Whenever I think about that fumble by McQuay, there is something that helps me out. 1983, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2012, 2017 : a total of 7 grey cups for the Argos since that 1971 loss. 1972, 1986, 1999: a total of 3 grey cups for the Cats in that time period. I don’t know, but I think most Argo fans are well past the 71 game. The many grey cup wins since that time really does tend to take the sting away. Wow, one of my favourite movies was released in 1971, Dirty Harry. Wow, that was a long, long time ago. If you’d like, I could help you with music and movies for 1972.

      • Well … I guess you sure told Philski.

      • Philski // July 5, 2018 at 8:59 pm //

        Ha! I held up one of those cardboard signs with magic marker written on it at the TC home game vs Argos on Sept. 6, 1971, “No way McQuay”…and of course the TC’s pasted them 30-17…and McQuay did SFA… It was beautiful…but hey, you Argo fans had some condolence…smuggled in rye whisky bottles…mixed in with those giant sized plastic Pepsi containers available at the time. Oh, I almost forgot about those blue coloured Argo hard hats…chic, very chic at the time! Now, fast forward to 2018…you go Franklin, buddy..a definite re-incarnation of Theismann…LOL!

        • Oh yeah, forgot one thing…the look on Cahill’s face after McQuay dropped the football in the 1971 GC was almost as priceless as OB’s expression in 1986 after the Argos choked away a 26 point lead in the 2 gamer. Still remember Argo loser guard Ferrone: “It’ll take an act of God…”…LOL!

          • You have such great memories. Whisky bottles, Argo hard hats, McQuay and Obie. I suggested you were getting desperate referring to 1971, so you respond with a more current item from 1986. I believe this is the part where you would insert an “lol”? As a matter of interest, TOP GUN was the #1 movie in 1986. Hey, good news, they are just starting filming of TOP GUN 2. Go Maverick Go. Seven Argo Grey Cups since 1971, three Ti-Cat Grey Cups since 1971. But, I guess you’ve got the memories. Sure, that’ll even it up. Wonder if ICEMAN will appear in the new movie (insert lol here?). Can we talk about the 90’s next time? Ouch, maybe we shouldn’t – 3 grey cup wins for the Argos that decade.

          • Philski // July 6, 2018 at 7:43 pm //

            Nope…not desperate…just referencing some of the more illustrious defeats on the all time Argo choke job highlight reel…just getting warmed up…Part II to follow…

          • “Nope…not desperate…just referencing some of the more illustrious defeats on the all time Argo choke job highlight reel…just getting warmed up…Part II to follow…”.

            Quite incredible how you refer to choke jobs when the Kitty Cats have won 3 grey cups versus the Argos 7 grey cups since 1971. Not sure you really understand the concept here. Similar to the Ti-Cats famous chant. Might carry a bit more weight if the Cats could win a championship this century. Oh, the gift that keeps on giving. Good news, I’ve confirmed that ICEMAN will in fact be in the next TOP GUN movie. Think Britney might be on the soundtrack? Can we talk about the 90’s now? I know you’re familiar with the 90’s. Look forward to the rest of your list. However, the numbers will still remain 7 – 3. Kinda makes whatever list you come up with look kinda silly, don’t ya think?

  12. Ron Tuthill // July 5, 2018 at 12:28 am //

    Ti-cats63 I agree with you but Duane Forde is great and knows his stuff

    but Rod Black just sits in front of the camera with a toothy grin which looks like he is saying ” Look at me don’t I look great. Why can’t commentators just report on the story of the game as it unfolds and not try and add drama to the game when it isn’t needed.

  13. With the consecutive 300 yds passing games record on the line for Masoli, they’ll have to tear off his arm or poison the water bottles to have Manziel go in.

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