The storyline: This is a matchup of two teams looking to find some consistency and break out of the CFL’s mushy middle. The Bombers have won two straight after taking both ends of a home-and-home series against Toronto but also have a loss to the struggling B.C. Lions on their resume. The Ticats are coming off a 50-11 demolition of the Montreal Alouettes, their first victory after three straight losses. Hamilton won a Week 3 game against Winnipeg at Tim Hortons Field but the Bombers were without starting quarterback Matt Nichols who is back in action.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-4) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-3)
Investors Group Field
Fri., Aug. 10, 8:30 p.m.
TV: TSN Radio: TSN 1150
Key roster notes for Hamilton: the biggest question surrounds the status of boundary corner Delvin Breaux, who was injured in practice this week after colliding with a teammate. With a sore neck and concussion symptoms, Breaux is a game-time decision. If Breaux is unavailable, look for Mariel Cooper or John Green to get the start. The Ticats also lost three key Canadian contributors in the win over Montreal last week and Justin Vaughn, Nick Shortill and Connor McGough are all off the roster, replaced by rookies Nick Parisotto and Brett Wade. Reserve defensive back and return man Frankie Williams is also down so look for Chris Williams to handle the punt return duties with support from Brandon Banks – not a bad back up plan, given that both are former winners of the league’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award.
Key roster notes for Winnipeg: While he’s still on the roster, SAM linebacker Moe Leggett is a game-time decision though the return of Chandler Fenner, a key free agent pick up in the off-season, will backfill that spot nicely if need be. Shayne Gauther, who is tied for the lead in special teams tackles, also returns. Former Ticat Frederic Plesius, signed late by Winnipeg late last month, is on the six-game injured list.
Nifty numbers worth knowing
28: points the Ticats led by last week in Montreal, tied for the largest advantage for a road team in the CFL history. It was also tied for the largest lead after one quarter.
100: yards receiving for Ticat Brandon Banks in five of his last six games.
44: percentage of first down conversions for Hamilton when faced with second and more than seven yards, the highest rate in the CFL.
304: receiving yards for Hamilton’s Jalen Saunders in his last two games (154, 150.)
60.9: completion percentage for Ticat opponents this year, the lowest mark in the league. They’ve also allowed a league-low 123 completions.
13.4: average yards per pass attempt for Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, the highest mark in the CFL. He also leads in attempts of over 20 yards with 53.
8.0: yards per carry for Masoli, tops in the CFL. He is the team’s leading rusher with 207 yards, good enough for 10th in the CFL.
1: wins needed by Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea to reach the .500 mark for his career (he’s currently 39-40.)
.684: winning percentage for the Bombers (and O’Shea) since naming Matt Nichols the starting quarterback on July 28, 2016.
417: penalty yards for the Bombers so far this season, the lowest mark in the CFL.
Weather: Clear, 32 degrees, winds out of the northwest at 15 km/h.