The storyline for Hamilton: The last time the Hamilton Tigers-Cats won a game in Calgary was July 4, 2004. Greg Marshall was the head coach, Danny McManus was the quarterback and Mike Morreale caught a touchdown pass: Matt Dunigan was Calgary’s head coach. The game is the first of a tough opening stretch for the Ticats, a run that features five straight match-ups against West Division teams – who were 29-10-1 against the East last year – and three road games. If June Jones’ crew can escape 2-3, that should be considered a victory.
Key roster notes for Hamilton: The Ticats are starting a rookie at right guard (Darius Ciraco, a first-round pick out of the University of Calgary) and rookies at both corner spots (Jumal Rolle and the boundary and Frankie Williams at the field.) Mike Daly is listed as the starter at safety and plenty of time with the first unit during practice this week but June Jones says fellow veteran Courtney Stephen, who has started 29 games over the past two seasons, will also see time.
“Stephen will play a lot,” Jones said. “I’m thinking we’re pretty solid in the back end. Both guys have leadership, we like them both: it’s a good problem.”
Don Unamba is making his first career start at SAM linebacker and the team has elected to start with two Canadian receivers among eight national starters (league rules only require seven,) a move that provides them with some ratio flexibility. Nikita Whitlock gets his first career CFL start at running back but expect to see plenty of Canadian Mercer Timmis as well.
Key roster notes for Calgary: Defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis, Canadian receiver Lemar Durant and defensive back Ciante Evans are the big names missing for Calgary. There are questions as to how much receiver Eric Rogers, a former all-star who signed last week, will be able to contribute and which of Terry Williams or Don Jackson will get the bulk of the load at running back. Former Ticat Emanuel Davis starts at field half for Calgary and will be supremely motivated against his old team.
Nifty numbers worth knowing
6: once Johnny Manziel dresses for the Ticats’ Saturday night, the number of Heisman Trophy winners who will have played in the CFL. Doug Flutie leads the list with 135 games played: the others are Andre Ware (29), Troy Smith (17), Terry Baker (16) and Eric Crouch (7).
59: points by which the Ticats lost (60-1) to the Stampeders in Calgary July 29, last year.
9: projected starters on offence and defence for Saturday’s Ticats game in Calgary who were also listed as starters in Calgary last year: Richard Leonard, Larry Dean, Ted Laurent, Justin Capicciotti, Brandon Revenberg, Mike Filer, Mike Jones, Jalen Saunders and Luke Tasker. (Simoni Lawrence was injured).
14: years since the Tiger-Cats last won a game in Calgary.
3.2: average number of points by which the Tiger-Cats lost their games in Calgary in the five years immediately prior to last year’s blow-out.
81: jersey number worn by receiver Felix Faubert-Lussier and on the Glanville Motorsports Ford stock car which was owned and driven by Ticats’ defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.
50: the exact difference, in years, in the ages of Glanville (born on October 14, 1941) and Faubert-Lussier (born October 14, 1991).
1: season-opening wins in the past decade, lowest total in the CFL. In 2016, they beat the Argos in Toronto 42-20. B.C. is second worst at 3-7, Calgary best at 6-3-1.
3,032: passing yards by Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli after Sept. 1 last season, tops in the league. Edmonton’s Mike Reilly was second with 2,985.
446: Masoli’s rushing total in 2017, good enough for 10th in the CFL overall and No. 1 among quarterbacks. Reilly was second among quarterbacks at 390.
96: Brandon Banks’ average yards per game after he was made a starting receiver for the final 10 games of 2017. That average projects to 1,726 receiving yards over 18 games. The Ticat record is 1,656 yards by Tony Champion in 1989.
46: Stampeder wins in Calgary over the last six years. They’ve had just eight losses at McMahon stadium in that span.
10: consecutive seasons the Stampeders have won 10 or more games, tying a club record. The league record is 13 set by Edmonton from 1985-97.
68: The overall draft position of the Ticats’ defensive back Nicholas Parisotto, making him the lowest-ranking 2018 draft choice to make a CFL roster.
– compiled by Steve Milton
Weather: Cloudy, 15 degrees with a 70 per cent risk of thundershowers with winds out of the north at 20 km/h.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-0) at Calgary Stampeders (0-0)
Sat., June 16
Game time: 7 p.m. EST
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150