Ottawa Redblacks (1-6-1) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-7)
Tim Hortons Field
Fri., Aug. 18
Game time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150
The storyline for Hamilton: Winless on the season, the Ticats are already in must-win territory as they start a crucial three-game stretch against East Division opponents (a bye week, followed by Labour Day vs. Toronto, then a trip to Ottawa.) Win all three and Hamilton will be right back in the race in the underachieving East Division. Lose all three and their season is all but over.
Key injuries and roster changes: the loss of all-star defensive tackle Ted Laurent, who was added to the six-game injured list with a hamstring injury – combined with a rash of other national d-lineman going down – has forced them to shuffle their seven Canadian starters. The team has two national receivers listed in the starting line up but will move the pieces around as the game progresses. Veteran defensive backs Emanuel Davis and Demond Washington return while Khalid Wooten and Terrence Frederick, who started in the secondary last week, were released.
Three funky Hamilton stats:
1. Quarterback Zach Collaros has lost his last 11 straight starts after beginning his career with a 24-15 mark. Only five QBs in CFL history have ever lost 12 straight – including Anthony Calvillo as a member of the Ticats in 1996-97 – and the record is 13, held by Lynn Amedee in 1963-64 for Edmonton.
2. Ticats defensive back Richard Leonard leads the CFL in pass knockdowns with seven and has at least one in each of last 4 games.
3. Hamilton has used 40 different starters this season, tied with Ottawa for the most in the CFL. The Ticats have started 12 different defensive backs so far this season.
The storyline for Ottawa: The Redblacks are 1-6-1 and are essentially in the same desperation mode as the Ticats. They are 0-3 on the road this season but have lost those games by a combined nine points. Questions surround starting quarterback Trevor Harris, who has played well this season – except in big pressure moments when the game is on the line.
Key injuries: Injured right guard Nolan MacMillan has been replaced by Matt Albright, who makes his first start of the season while former Ticat return man Quincy McDuffie is also hurt and won’t play. Another ex-Ticat, defensive end Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, returns to the line up as does running back William Powell.
Three funky Ottawa stats:
1. Quarterback Trevor Harris is just 1-8-1 in his last 10 starts dating back to Oct. 1, 2016 and 15-18-2 for his career.
2. The Redblacks are the only team in CFL history to have each of their first eight games of a season all decided by seven points or less.
3. The Redblacks have thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this year, Calgary and Edmonton are the only other teams to do so in 2017.
TSN play-by-play: Rod Black and Duane Forde
Referee: Dave Foxcroft
Weather: Partly cloudy, 22 degrees with a 20 per cent chance of rain. Winds from the Southwest at 25 km/h.