First of three against Alberta power
The storyline for Hamilton: Well, the Ticats are 0-3 and much of the conversation this week centred on whether there’s tension between head coach Kent Austin and quarterback Zach Collaros. Hamilton is starting a three-game stretch against West Division powerhouses Edmonton and Calgary, making that first win — which Austin acknowledged would ease the mounting pressure — a daunting task.
Key injuries and roster changes: Linebacker Will Hill is back at SAM linebacker after sitting out a week due to a suspension for grabbing an official, so Keon Lyn moves to corner and Terrence Frederick joins the secondary as the extra defensive back. Ethan Davis and Aaron Berry are off the roster. The 12 starters on offence remain the same. Five funky Hamilton stats: 1. After averaging 208 yards of net offence in their first two games, the Ticats gained a season-high 424 yards against B.C. last week and scored twice on their first four drives.
2. A loss would drop the Ticats to 0-4 on the season. The last time they started a year so poorly: 2007, when they finished 3-15.
3. With 225 receiving yards, first-year Ticat receiver Jalen Saunders is 13th in the CFL, despite playing in just two games. He has averaged a league-best 20.5 yards per reception.
The storyline for Edmonton: The Esks are 3-0 but their wins have been by a total of nine points — they aren’t blowing people out. Still, they have Mike Reilly at quarterback and one of the CFL’s best defensive lines.
Key injuries: Having already lost running back John White and linebackers J.C. Sherritt and Cory Greenwood to season-ending injuries, Edmonton is now without all-star receiver Adarius Bowman and Canadian linebacker Adam Konar, who filled in admirably for Greenwood. National Blair Smith will make his first CFL start for Konar, while Bryant Mitchell takes over for Bowman. Three funky Edmonton stats: 1. The Eskimos have visited Hamilton 46 times since 1961 and are 26-19-1 over than span. The 26 wins by Edmonton over Hamilton are the most by any West Division club over an Eastern rival in league history.
2. The Eskimos have only six points in the first quarter this season but have a 30-12 edge in the second stanza. All three of their wins have been by four points or less and by just nine points in total.
3. Quarterback Mike Reilly comes into this game with 17,099 career passing yards to rank No. 39 all-time and trailing Eskimos head coach Jason Maas by just 27 yards.
TSN play-by-play: Rod Black, Duane Forde
Referee: Andre Proulx
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy, 24 degrees (feels like 32), winds out of the northwest at 15 km/h
QB Mike Reilly has 17,099 career passing yards to rank No. 39 all-time in the Canadian Football League, trailing Edmonton Eskimos head coach Jason Maas by just 27.