LIVESTREAM: CFL – Hamilton Tiger-Cats @Saskatchewan Roughriders, July 5, 7p (9p EST, 3a July 6 CEST)

REGINA — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders are two teams that carry much different storylines heading into Week 4.

The Ticats are riding high after picking up wins against two tough teams in the West and find themselves going for a third straight victory. Meanwhile the Roughriders, who started off the season strong with a convincing win over the reigning Grey Cup champs, now find themselves 1-2 after a pair of lopsided losses.

The Black and Gold made a statement last week with a dominant 31-17 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli completed 31 of 41 attempts for 369 yards with one touchdown pass and one interception. It was the eighth straight game that the 29-year-old broke the 300-yard passing mark.

“It’s just a testament for how hard our offence is working,” Masoli told Ticats.ca after the game. “Number one, with the guys in the trenches giving me all kinds of time, making me feel comfortable, and everybody else just getting open. And the scheme that the coaches are calling; we’re feeling pretty good.”

Brandon Banks led all receivers with 111 yards, while Sean Thomas-Erlington rushed for 92 yards in the win. Fellow Canadian running back Mercer Timmis was effective when needed, finding the end zone twice.

“They’re putting me in a good place to succeed,” said Timmis. “I think a lot of guys probably could have walked in on those ones, but it’s definitely nice to get them…It’s always nice to contribute to the team in any way. On special teams, I was playing a little bit of that, and a little bit of running back. “Anything I can help the team do to get a win, that’s the biggest goal.”

The Ticats have emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises to start the CFL season. After needing nine games to pick up their first win in 2017, the Ticats now have twice as many victories as they did halfway through last season.

Hamilton will face off against another tough West Division opponent for the fourth straight week as they roll into Riderville on Thursday.

“When all is said and done I think they’ll be very aggressive,” said Head Coach June Jones. “They pass rush. They’re interested in getting to the quarterback. They got to us quite a bit last year. I would think that they’ll be very aggressive…. They had a little bit of a disappointing game last week, so they’ll start off coming after us.”

The team will be without defensive end Adrian Tracy, who was injured in last weeks win against the Bombers. First year Ticat Julian Howsare will get the start.

The Roughriders have their own injury woes.

Saskatchewan will be without starting quarterback Zach Collaros for a second straight week. Collaros left the Riders’ Week 2 game against the Ottawa REDBLACKS with a head injury and currently sitting on the six-game injured list.

The Riders will once again put their faith in Canadian pivot Brandon Bridge as the starter, despite being pulled in the team’s disappointing 23-17 loss to the Montreal Alouettes last week. Bridge completed just eight of 18 passes for 111 yards with a pair of picks.

“It’s only one bad half of football,” Bridge told Riderville.com. “If you look back on every other game, everyone is going to say I was shining bright like a diamond. But now, it’s one bad half and people think hell froze over. I just have to bounce back and take what the defence gives me and execute the game plan.”

Even after the Riders replaced Bridge with backup David Watford, the team struggled to find any momentum. Watford did manage to find Naaman Roosevelt for the Riders only major of the game, but also threw two picks of his own.

Jones made the decision late in the game to put star receiver turned cornerback Duron Carter on offence to try and provide a spark for the team. However, the 27-year-old will start in the secondary for a third straight week.

“Duron’s got to make strides,” said head coach Chris Jones. “He’s like everybody else…He’s got to learn to play defence. He’s got to learn to disrupt routes early in the play. If he does that he’s going to see success.”

The Riders are aware that they are up against a tough Hamilton squad that is surging under their quarterback.

Chris Jones says that Masoli has evolved since last season.

“I think the maturity is there,” said the Riders head coach. “I think the comfort in the offence certainly is there. June and his staff are doing an outstanding job…. He can spin it as good as anybody right now.”

Crunchin’ Numbers:

4 – Interceptions thrown by Jeremiah Masoli during his eight-game run of 300 plus yard on 298 attempts.

7 – Points allowed by the Ticats in each second half of their last two games.

13 – Times Naaman Roosevelt was targeted last week, one short of his career-high of 14.

17 – Team-leading tackles this season by Ticats linebacker Larry Dean, ranked fourth in the league.

Our CFL writers have unanimously gone with the Ticats to pick up a win at the always hostile Mosaic Stadium. However, it’s still hard to consider the Riders an “underdog” despite their disappointing last two games.

Saskatchewan has won their last three games against the Ticats, and four of their last five matchups against the Black and Gold.

Riders quarterback Brandon Bridge also has proven success against Hamilton. Bridge’s only start in 2017 was against the Ticats on Sept. 5. He led the Riders to a 27-19 win with three touchdown passes.

Will Bridge have another successful outing against the Ticats? Or will Hamilton pick up their third straight win

– With files from Ticats.ca/ Riderville.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM: CFL – Hamilton Tiger-Cats @Saskatchewan Roughriders, July 5, 7p (9p EST, 3a July 6 CEST)

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