Lions-Cats Eastern semifinal battle will be contest between quarterbacks
1. Hip, Hip, Lulay
There isn’t a more respected player in three-down football than Travis Lulay, who the Ticats have yet to meet this season. Lulay has won a Grey Cup and understands what it takes when playing a postseason game. Protecting the football, making the right reads and delivering the ball on time will be asked of Lulay. He can move in the pocket and when necessary. Lulay can make plays with his feet.
2. Masoli the Messiah
All eyes in the Hammer will be on Jeremiah Masoli, the ultimate dual-threat quarterback who has flourished under June Jones’ system. 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. For Masoli to be considered an elite quarterback, he must come through.
3. Wally’s World
This could be Wally Buono’s last stand as he wraps up a 46-year run in the CFL. “I know the players will be motivated,” Jones said of the visitors. “They’re going to play hard whether Wally was 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 of 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 their absolute best in the biggest game of the season.