Zach’s back and other things you need to know about Esks at Ticats

Hamilton Tiger-Cats' Rico Murray (0) chases as Edmonton Eskimos' Cory Watson (18) misses the catch during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday July 23, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Game 17
Edmonton Eskimos (8-8) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9)
Tim Hortons Field
Fri., Oct. 28, 2016
Game time: 7 p.m.
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150

The storyline for Edmonton: The Eskimos need a lot to go right in order to host the West Semi-Final, a list that includes victories in both their remaining games: the cross-over spot – and a potential first-round match up with Hamilton – is more likely. Edmonton has been up and down all year with a pair of three-game winning streaks and a pair of three-game losing streaks this season. Redemption for a July 23 loss to the Ticats that saw them blow a 25-point lead is also a factor.

Key injuries: Canadian receiver Nate Coehoorn (28 catches) and veteran corner Patrick Watkins are out this week due to injury so Gary Peters moves to the boundary spot while Tyler Thornton gets his first career CFL start at field halfback.

Five funky Edmonton stats:
1. The Eskimos have come back from 10 or more points to win on three occasions this season.
2. Adarius Bowman has 40 catches which have given his team a first down this season. That’s within one of the single-season record for a statistical category that the CFL has tracked since 2008 (Jamel Richardson in 2011.)
3. Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker have a combined 3,208 yards on pace for a CFL tandem record of 3,609. The current mark is 3,318 yards by Jeremaine Copeland and Ben Cahoon for Montreal in 2003.
4. Edmonton completes a four-game road trip this week, their longest in 63 years.
5. In last week’s loss to B.C., Edmonton converted 8-of-9 on second down and six yards or less, but were 0-for-8 in second and long (seven or more yards.)

The storyline for Hamilton: The Ticats are still in the running for first place in the East but a loss this week coupled with an Ottawa win would lock them into second place in the division. Hamilton will look to use last week’s remarkable second-half comeback as a springboard to a late season run while also developing some chemistry in a secondary that will feature the same starting five for a second straight game – a rarity this season.

Key injuries and roster changes: Quarterback Zach Collaros returns after a two-game absence due to a concussion. Three Canadians – reserve defensive back Jay Langa and back up receivers Mike Jones and Giovanni Aprile –come on the roster while American receiver John Chiles amd a pair of nationals (defensive back Elroy Douglas and defensive tackle Evan Gill) go off. Junior Collins gets the nod over Chiles because of his versatility while the loss of Gill means the Ticats will have to do some shuffling if they lose one of their two starting Canadian defensive tackles. American Terrence Campbell returns to the right tackle spot after missing one game with injury. Canadian Brandon Revenberg, who started there last week, moves back to guard.

Five funky Hamilton stats:
1. With their comeback win against Ottawa last, the Ticats have rallied from 15 or more points to win on three occasions this season, the most of any club in CFL history. Since taking over as head coach in 2013, Coach Kent Austin has led Hamilton to six comeback wins of from deficits of 10 or more points.
2. The Ticats have outscored opponents by 90 points in the fourth quarter of games this season and have three wins when trailing after three quarters, tied with B.C. forthe most of any team.
3. Over the last four games, Andy Fantuz has been targeted 51 times making 40 catches for 376 yards. With 34 yards this week, he can jump from the No. 36 spot on the all-time receiving list (8,308) up to No. 33 past Joe Poplawski (8,341).
4. Brett Maher made 29-of-33 field goal attempts through the first 12 games, but has made just eight of his last 12.
5. In his last 9 games, John Chick has eight sacks and at least one in six of those contests. In the Ticats seven wins this season they have: 34 sacks (4.9 per game) but just 13 (1.4 per game) in their nine losses.

TSN play-by-play: Rod Black and Duane Forde

Referee: Tom Vallesi

Weather: Partly cloudy, 7 degrees, winds out of the southwest at 15 km/h.

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