With the Ticats season nearing the one-quarter mark (and the team off for a third straight day) let’s take a look at some interesting stats from 2016.
1. With his two kick return touchdowns this season, Brandon Banks now had nine for his career, good enough for fifth all-time in CFL history. The Ticat record is held by Earl Winfield with 12 while the Henry “Gizmo” Williams holds the league record with 32. Banks is averaging a kick return touchdown every 4.6 games, the best rate ever.
2. The Ticats are 2-0 on the road so far this season are now 13-18 as the away team in three-plus seasons under head coach Kent Austin. Visiting teams went 4-0 across the CFL last week and have won 12 games, or 75 per cent, so far this season – a substantial increase over the 44 per cent they won in 2015 (42.5 per cent over the last four seasons.)
3. Ticats lead the league in giveaways (12) and points allowed off turnovers (31) but are also tops in takeaways (11) and points generated from turnovers (34.) On defence, the Ticats have just one interception on the season (tied for the league low) but lead the CFL in fumble recoveries with eight and turnovers on downs with four. On offence, Hamilton has yet to turn the ball over on downs this season.
Hamilton has won the turnover battle in both their wins this season and lost it in both their losses. The Ticats were 0-7 last season with a negative turnover differential and are 5-21 in the three-plus seasons under Austin.
4. Challenges are up across the CFL this season – 1.6 per game versus 1.3 in 2015 – but Hamilton has challenged just twice, the fewest number in the league. Austin has, however, been correct both times.
Across the league, coaches have been correct 51 per cent of the time so far this season compared to 34 per cent last season. Winnipeg leads the league with seven challenges, five of which have led to calls being changed. Only Calgary is without a successful challenging this season, going 0-for-4 so far in 2016.
5. Good stats: Hamilton is tied for first in the CFL in sacks with 13 (including eight on second down) second in the league in forcing two-and-outs (25), tops in both gross punting average (50.2 yards) and net punting average (38.6). They are second in points allowed (20.8 per game), first net opponent’s net offence (287.3 yards per game), yards per play (4.9) and are giving up a league-low 260 passing yards a game.
6. Bad stats: Hamilton leads the league in two-and-outs (25) as well as drives started inside their 20 yard line (13). On average, opponents have started their drives on the 40 yard line, the worst mark in the CFL. Hamilton is also is last in the league in time-of-possession (27:13) and sacks allowed (13 or one every 11.9 drop backs.)
7. The Ticats have taken 45 penalties so far this season, the second highest mark in the CFL and have allowed opponents to register 13 first downs via penalty, tops in the league. They are also first in offsides (11) and roughness fouls (9).
Across the CFL, there have been an average of 20.69 penalties per game, down 12 per cent from last season and the lowest mark since 2013 when there were 18.36 infractions per contest.
8. Chad Owens leads the Ticats with 280 receiving yards, while Luke Tasker is tops in catches (24), targets (28) and receiving percentage (86). Interestingly, Hamilton does not have a 100-yard receiving game this season. Brandon Banks has 702 combined yards, tops on the team and in CFL.
On defence, linebacker Simoni Lawrence leads the team in tackles (24), interceptions (1) and defensive plays (32) and is second in sacks with three (John Chick leads with four.) Frederic Plesius leads the team with seven special teams tackles (second in the CFL.)
9. According to online betting site Bodog, the Ticats are now 11-to-2 to win the Grey Cup, a slight improvement on the 7-to-1 odds from the end of last season. The Redblacks are the current favourites at 19-to-4, followed by the Lions, Stampeders and Eskimos at 5-to-1.