Tiger-Cats Game Day

Win­less Hamil­ton takes on the per­fect Eski­mos

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DREW ED­WARDS

The sto­ry­line for Hamil­ton: They are 0-5, got ham­mered 60-1 last Saturday against Cal­gary, had a brawl in prac­tice and hired a new as­sis­tant head coach this week. Other than that, things are just fine. Team CEO Scott Mitchell said this week that head coach Kent Austin’s job was safe, so if they are go­ing to turn things around — and they are run­ning out of time to do so — it will be with Austin at the helm.

Key in­juries and ros­ter changes: All-star line­backer Si­moni Lawrence re­turns af­ter miss­ing one game due to in­jury, but half­back Ab­dul Kan­neh, who played his first con­test as a Ti­cat last week, has been put on the six-game injured list. Don Unamba, signed this week, starts at the bound­ary cor­ner, while Will Hill moves from strong-side line­backer to safety. Do­minique El­lis will re­place Hill and Justin Capoc­ciotti will start at de­fen­sive end to make the ra­tio work. Da­marr Ault­man makes his CFL de­but, re­plac­ing Kevin El­liott, and Amer­i­can de­fen­sive end Adrian Tracy also sits.

Three funky Hamil­ton stats: 1. Of the 32 CFL clubs that have started the sea­son 0-5 since 1948, just three have made the play­offs (9 per cent.) 2. Ser­gio Castillo is a per­fect 9-for-9 through five games, the last kicker in the CFL to re­tain a per­fect mark. He is also 3-of-3 be­yond 40 yards and has a league-best 37.1 av­er­age kick. 3. The Ti­cats threw 37 passes last week and tar­geted Luke Tasker on 14 of them, a ca­reer-high. Since be­ing blanked on July 8 with just two tar­gets, Tasker has been thrown to 32 times and made 22 re­cep­tions for 173 yards.

The sto­ry­line for Ed­mon­ton: The league’s last per­fect team, the Esks are try­ing to stay un­de­feated de­spite the loss of sev­eral starters due to in­jury. They earned a 31-28 vic­tory over Hamil­ton at Tim Hor­tons Field two weeks ago, a game in which Hamil­ton led 25-13 af­ter the third quar­ter. But three Ed­mon­ton scor­ing drives cul­mi­nat­ing in a Mike Reilly to Duke Wil­liams pass with 0:23 to play made the dif­fer­ence.

Key in­juries: The Esks, rav­aged by in­juries, have made a whop­ping 16 ros­ter moves with six starters from last week’s win over B.C. out of the lineup, in­clud­ing run­ning back Travon Van, re­ceiver Duke Wil­liams, kicker Sean Whyte, Cana­dian de­fen­sive backs Ar­jen Colquhoun and Neil King, as well as of­fen­sive tackle Joel Figueroa. For­mer Ti­cat Hugh O’Neill re­places Whyte, while the loss of King and Colquhoun have forced Ed­mon­ton to make a ra­tio change, adding Cana­dian re­ceiver Chris Get­zlaf to the start­ing lineup.

Three funky Ed­mon­ton stats: 1. The Eski­mos are the 25th team in CFL his­tory in start the sea­son 5-0. None of those teams has missed the play­offs and eight have won the Grey Cup. 2. Reilly is No. 1 in the CFL’s quar­ter­back rat­ing sys­tem with a 91.1 mark out of 100 for 2017. 3. He con­nected with Vi­dal Hazel­ton for a 108-yard pass last week against B.C., the long­est pass play in the CFL since a 109-yarder from Da­mon Allen to Al­fred Jack­son in 2002 when they were with the Lions.

TSN play-by-play: Chris Cuth­bert and Glen Suitor

Ref­eree: Dave Fox­croft

Weather: Partly cloudy with a 40 per cent chance of show­ers, winds out of the north at 15 km/h.

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Ti­cats’ Si­moni Lawrence re­turns af­ter miss­ing one game due to in­jury.

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