Scouting report: Ticats-Als about more than just Johnny

Yeah, yeah, yeah Johnny Manziel but this is also a big game for the Ticats given that they are just one game ahead of the Alouettes in the East Division standings and have lost their last three games. The decision to promote Manziel to the No. 1 job despite just five practices with the club – a move his agent called “insane” – speaks to the desperation in Montreal as they try and salvage what’s rapidly becoming another lost season.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-4) at Montreal Alouettes (1-5)
Percival Molson Stadium
Fri., Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150 U.S.: ESPN2

Key roster notes for Hamilton: receivers Luke Tasker and Terrence Toliver return to the line up while Brandon Banks, who missed much of practice this week with a knee injury, remains on the roster. That means the Ticats could, theoretically, field a line up with five former 1,000-yard receivers (Chris Williams and Jalen Saunders have also done it) by using Canadian Mercer Timmis at running back. American Alex Green is listed as the starter, however, as he returns from a broken hand (John White moves to the practice roster.)

Key roster notes for Montreal: While Manziel has been the focus this week, the Alouettes have also made a number of other roster changes against Hamilton. Former Ticat Landon Rice gets the start at guard after Ryan Bomben (another ex-Tabbie) was dealt to Toronto for T.J. Heath who will line up at boundary corner. Starting field corner Mitch White is out due to injury, replaced by rookie Greg Ducre. Former Ticat Tony Washington, another piece in the Manziel deal, starts at left tackle. Canadian Bo Banner, a 2018 draft pick, makes his first career start at defensive end.

Nifty numbers worth knowing
3-0: Jeremiah Masoli’s career record as a starter against the Montreal Alouettes. He’s 9-5 on the road and 12-13 overall.
951: days since Johnny Manziel last threw a pass in a professional football game.
14: starting quarterbacks for the Alouettes since Anthony Calvillo’s last game in August 2013. That’s the most in the CFL over that span (the Ticats are tied for fifth with six.)
4: starting quarterbacks for the Alouettes in the last four weeks, something that’s happened just six times, league-wide, in the last 60 years.
0: wins at home in the last eight games for Montreal.
-33: point differential for the Ticats in the second half of games this season (they are +28 in the first half.) Hamilton has been outscored in five of six fourth quarters this season.
6: interceptions by Masoli this season, tops in the CFL. Opponents have scored 21 points off those picks.

Referee: Tim Kroeker

TSN crew: Rod Black and Glen Suitor

Weather: Partly cloudy, 26 degrees, wind from the south at 20 km/h

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