CALGARY — It’s been a long time since the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, or anyone for that matter, has defeated the Stampeders on their home turf.
To be exact, the last time Calgary dropped a game at McMahon Stadium was Oct. 10, 2015.
On Saturday, the Stamps will try to make it 13 wins in a row in front of their hometown crowd when the Ticats travel to Calgary to close out Week 6.
The Ticats’ drought against the Stamps on the road has been longer than most teams’. The last time Black and Gold picked up a victory at McMahon was on July 4, 2004.
Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin spoke with Ticats.ca about it:
“We’re actually aware that we haven’t won out there in a long time. We’ve been close since we’ve been here. It’s a tough place to win but we don’t focus on that. I haven’t even talked to the team about that because you have a whole bunch of guys right now that don’t know any better… those things are really not relevant to our preparation and how we play. The mystique of all that, we don’t talk about it.”
The Ticats were close to handing the Edmonton Eskimos there first loss of the season last week but some late heroics from Mike Reilly and company lifted the Esks to a 31-28 victory. The Black and Gold led by five with just over a minute to go in the game. Reilly made short work of the long field, needing only five plays to find the end zone. The Ticats received the ball back down by three after a successful two-point covert by the Esks. Collaros’ only pass was an interception, sealing the win for Edmonton.
Hamilton will be forced to try and pick up its first win of the season with a banged up roster. All-star linebacker Simoni Lawrence will not make the trip to Calgary after battling a lower body injury for the past few weeks. Veteran offensive lineman Xavier Fulton was also placed on the one game injured list.
However, it’s not all bad news on the Hamilton injury front. Halfback Abdul Kanneh will make his regular season debut with the Ticats after being sidelined for the beginning of the year. His return comes at the perfect time as the Ticats’ defence has given up a league high 488 yards per game.
Hamilton has also decided to go back to C.J. Gable as its starting running back. Gable’s number one spot was handed over to Ross Scheuerman for the past three games.
The Stamps will look to make it 13 straight wins at McMahon Stadium when the Ticats roll into Calgary Saturday night.
Their latest home victory was a 27-10 contest over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week. Calgary blanked the Riders in the first half to jump out to an early 17-point lead. The Riders went on a 10-point run to cut the deficit to single digits, but the comeback was too little too late as the Stamps held on for the win.
Saskatchewan could not stop the Stamps’ powerful run game as Jerome Messam racked up 135 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Bo Levi Mitchell completed 16 of 28 attempts for 253 yards, two majors and an interception.
Charleston Hughes took down Kevin Glenn three times for a trio of quarterback sacks in the victory.
Messam and Hughes were rewarded for their stand out play, being named the first and third CFL top performers for Week 5 respectively.
Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson told Stampeders.com.
“We hadn’t had a lot of love on players of the week so it’s good for our guys to get that. I thought they both played great games. Hopefully they can build on it.”
Kamar Jorden also continues to impress in the Stampeders lineup. The 2017 season has been a breakout one for the 28-year-old, who leads the league in touchdowns with four. Jorden has also become a go to guy for Mitchell and leads the team in receiving yards. He also ranks fourth in the league in targets with 48 through five games.
The Stamps’ offence remains completely intact from last week. On the defensive side of the ball, Calgary will be without safety Josh Bell. Dickenson says he is unsure how long Bell will be out of the lineup. For now, he remains on the one-game inured list.
Rookie Tunde Adeleke will get his first start in Bell’s absence. The 22-year-old was selected in the third round, 25th overall in the 2017 draft. He scored a 71-yard punt return touchdown in Week 2 against the Ottawa REDBLACKS in a 43-39 win.
The Stampeders have won 10 straight games against the Ticats; the longest current streak held by one CFL club over another.
By The Numbers
8 – League leading quarterback pressures on average per game for Hamilton.
9 – Wins West Division teams have over the East Division teams this season. The East has only captured two of 11 games.
37 – Tackles for Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton through Week 5, ranking him second in the CFL behind only Solomon Elimimian of the BC Lions.
92 – Games Calgary has gone without back-to-back losses. The Stamps are 72-18-2 over that stretch.
Putting points on the board has been a struggle this season for the Ticats. They are in the basement of the league in the categories of points per game (22.3) and total yards per game (310.3). Collaros has also only managed to find the end zone three times this season.
It has been a different story for the Stamps, who rank second in points per game (30.6) and third in total yards (411.4).
Simply put, if the Ticats want their first win of the season on Saturday night, they’ll need to find a way to score.
With files from Ticats.ca/Stampeders.com
AFI, Yare Media and the CFL
American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2017 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.
If you can’t watch it live, each game is available for 48 hours after the original broadcast.