FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
1 HIP HIP, LULAY!
There isn’t a more respected player in three-down football than Lions QB Travis Lulay, whom the Ticats have yet to meet this season. Lulay has won a Grey Cup and understands what it takes when playing a post-season game. Protecting the football, making the right reads and delivering the ball on time will be asked of him. He can move in the pocket and, when necessary, can make plays with his feet.
2 MASOLI THE MESSIAH
All eyes in the Hammer will be on Jeremiah Masoli, the ultimate dual threat QB who has flourished under June Jones’ system. But he’ll have to deliver a win today if he is to be considered an elite quareterback. If the Lions don’t contain Masoli in the pocket, rushing yards will be yielded. B.C. figures to mix up their coverage in the secondary and force Masoli to be patient.
3 WALLY’S WORLD
This could be Lions coach Wally Buono’s last stand as he wraps up a 46year run in the CFL. “I know the players will be motivated,” Jones said of the visitors. “They’re going to play hard whether Wally is retiring or not. Wally has motivated a lot of players to play at a high level for a lot of years. He’d love to go out with a win. We’d like to send him out with a loss.”
4 NO SMALL TASKER
Luke Tasker will get all the attention from B.C.’s passing defence, the one target the Lions must always account for in the injury absence to Brandon Banks, one of the game’s elite playmakers. Tasker isn’t going to get behind coverage with his speed unless there’s a breakdown in the back end, but he’s savvy, tough and surehanded. For Hamilton to win, Tasker must have a minimum of 10 targets.
5 BEST FOOT FORWARD
No punter has distinguished himself better in the CFL than B.C.’s Ty Long and no kicker must redeem himself more than Hamilton’s Lirim Hajrullahu. Both Long and Hajrullahu handle all the special teams duties for their respective teams and each will have to be at his absolute best in the biggest game of the season.