Ticats have 9 wins in Calgary … in 56 years
The storyline for Hamilton: The Ticats are 0-4 after losing a heartbreaker to Edmonton at home last week, giving up a late lead in the fourth quarter. Hamilton hasn’t won in Calgary since 2004, when Paul Martin was Prime Minister, and will have to do so without all-star linebacker Simoni Lawrence and starting left tackle Xavier Fulton. With a trip to Edmonton on deck — the team is staying in Alberta next week — Hamilton is staring at the possibility of an 0-6 start.
Key injuries and roster changes: Lawrence is on the shelf with a lower body injury so Larry Dean shifts to the weak side with NFL veteran Kavell Conner taking over in the middle. Halfback Abdul Kanneh, a major free-agent signing this off-season, makes his Ticat debut after missing the first four games due to injury. With left tackle Xavier Fulton out, Lamar Holmes moves from the right side and Quinterrius Eatmon makes his first CFL start. Running back C.J. Gable will start in place of Ross Scheuerman — Gable’s superior pass protection should help the inexperienced tackles — while receiver Kevin Elliott replaces Junior Collins. Defensive back Dominique Ellis, signed this week, is the extra defensive back, while rookie Canadian running back Sean Thomas-Erlington makes his CFL debut. Canadian linebacker Nick Shortill (foot) and defensive backs Keon Lyn (leg) and Terrence Frederick are also off the active roster. Three funky Hamilton stats: 1. The Ticats lead the CFL with an average of 8.3 quarterback pressures per game and are sixth in sacks with nine (their 2.25 per game average in third, however.)
2. Hamilton has gained the fewest yards per game at 288.0, and allowed the most at 455.3 per game. They are last in touchdown drives with just five in 53 possessions (9 per cent) compared to 15 TDs allowed in 54 opponent drives (28 per cent).
3. The Ticats are 30-61 against the Stamps since 1961, and have won just nine times in Calgary, against 36 losses, over than span.
The storyline for Calgary: The Stamps haven’t been playing their best football — they’d be the first to tell you that — but are still 3-1-1 after dispatching of the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is third in the CFL with 1,635 passing yards and second in touch- down passes with nine. Running back Jerome Messam leads the league with 323 rushing yards.
Key injuries: Starting safety Josh Bell was injured in last week’s win over the Riders so rookie Canadian Tunde Adeleke will make his first CFL start. The Stamps have 15 players on the six-game injured list, including a half-dozen starters … and don’t seem to have missed a beat. Three funky Calgary stats: 1. The Stamps have won 12 in a row at McMahon Stadium and they are 19-1 in their last 20 at home.
2. Canadian running back Jerome Messam had 28 carries last week, smashing his previous career high of 20. It was the most of any CFL player since Winnipeg’s Charles Roberts had 32 carries in 2006.
3. After beating Saskatchewan last week, the Stamps have now gone 92 games without back-to-back defeats and are 72-18-2 (.793) over that stretch.
TSN play-by-play: Rod Black and Duane Forde. Referee: Andre Proulx Weather: Clear, 27 degrees C with winds out of the southeast at 17 km/h gusting to 25 km/h.
Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam, leads the CFL in rushing with 323 yards.