Take th­ese stats to the Banks

TI­CAT, CFL TRENDS

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS

With the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats’ sea­son near­ing the one-quar­ter mark (and the team off for a third straight day), let’s take a look at some in­ter­est­ing stats from 2016:

1. With his two kick-re­turn touch­downs this sea­son, Bran­don Banks has nine for his ca­reer, good enough for fifth all-time in Cana­dian Foot­ball League his­tory. The Ti­cats record is held by Earl Win­field, with 12, while the Henry “Gizmo” Wil­liams holds the league record with 32. Banks is av­er­ag­ing a kick-re­turn touch­down ev­ery 4.6 games, the best rate ever.

2. The Ti­cats are 2-0 on the road so far this sea­son. They are 13-18 as the away team in three-plus sea­sons un­der head coach Kent Austin. Vis­it­ing teams went 4-0 across the CFL last week and have won 12 games, or 75 per cent, so far this sea­son — a sub­stan­tial in­crease over the 44 per cent they won in 2015 (42.5 per cent over the past four sea­sons). 3. Ti­cats lead the league in give­aways (12) and points al­lowed off of turnovers (31) but are also tops in take­aways (11) and points gen­er­ated from turnovers (34). On de­fence, the Ti­cats have just one in­ter­cep­tion on the sea­son (tied for the league low), but lead the CFL in fum­ble re­cov­er­ies, with eight, and turnovers on downs, with four. On of­fence, Hamil­ton has yet to turn the ball over on downs this sea­son. Hamil­ton has won the turnover bat­tle in both their wins this sea­son and lost it in both their de­feats. The Ti­cats were 0-7 last sea­son with a neg­a­tive turnover dif­fer­en­tial and are 5-21 in the three-plus sea­sons un­der Austin.

4. Chal­lenges are up across the CFL this sea­son — 1.6 per game ver­sus 1.3 in 2015 — but Hamil­ton has chal­lenged just twice, the fewest num­ber in the league. Austin has, how­ever, been cor­rect both times. Across the league, coaches have been cor­rect 51 per cent of the time so far com­pared to 34 per cent last sea­son. Win­nipeg leads the league with seven chal­lenges, five of which have led to calls be­ing changed. Only Cal­gary is with­out a suc­cess­ful chal­leng­ing this sea­son, go­ing 0-for-4 so far in 2016.

5. Good stats: Hamil­ton is tied for first in the CFL in sacks with 13 (in­clud­ing eight on sec­ond down), is sec­ond in the league in forc­ing two-and-outs (25).

The Ti­cats are tops in both gross punt­ing av­er­age (50.2 yards) and net punt­ing av­er­age (38.6). They are sec­ond in points al­lowed (20.8 per game), first in op­po­nent’s net of­fence (287.3 yards per game), yards per play (4.9) and are giv­ing up a league-low 260 pass­ing yards a game.

6. Bad stats: Hamil­ton leads the league in two-and-outs (25) as well as drives started in­side their own 20-yard line (13). On av­er­age, op­po­nents have started their drives on the 40-yard line, the worst mark in the CFL. Hamil­ton is also is last in the league in time of pos­ses­sion (27:13) and sacks al­lowed (13, or one ev­ery 11.9 drop backs.)

7. The Ti­cats have taken 45 penal­ties so far this sea­son, the sec­ond­high­est mark in the CFL, and have al­lowed op­po­nents to regis­ter 13 first downs via penalty, tops in the league. They are also first in off­sides (11) and rough­ness fouls (9). Across the CFL, there have been an av­er­age of 20.69 penal­ties per game, down 12 per cent from last sea­son and the low­est mark since 2013 when there were 18.36 in­frac­tions per con­test.

8. Chad Owens leads the Ti­cats with 280 re­ceiv­ing yards, while Luke Tasker is tops in catches (24), tar­gets (28) and re­ceiv­ing per­cent­age (86). In­ter­est­ingly, Hamil­ton does not have a 100-yard re­ceiv­ing game this sea­son. Bran­don Banks has 702 com­bined yards, tops on the team and in the CFL. On de­fence, line­backer Si­moni Lawrence leads the team in tack­les (24), in­ter­cep­tions (1) and de­fen­sive plays (32) and is sec­ond in sacks, with three ( John Chick leads with four). Frédéric Ple­sius leads the team with seven spe­cial-teams tack­les (sec­ond in the CFL).

9. Ac­cord­ing to on­line bet­ting site Bodog, the odds of the TigerCats win­ning the Grey Cup are 11to-2, a slight im­prove­ment on the 7to-1 odds from the end of last sea­son. The Red­blacks are the favourites at 19-to-4, fol­lowed by the Lions, Stam­ped­ers and Eski­mos at 5-to-1.

JOHN REN­NI­SON, HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

Bran­don Banks is av­er­ag­ing a kick-re­turn touch­down ev­ery 4.6 games, the best rate ever.

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