LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Hamilton Tiger-Cats @Montreal Alouettes, August 3, 7:30p (1:30a August 4, CEST)

MONTREAL — It is the moment that CFL fans have been anxiously awaiting for months.

Johnny Manziel will make his much anticipated CFL debut when the Montreal Alouettes take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday Night Football.

Adding even more intrigue to the matchup? It was just over one week ago that Hamilton shipped Manziel to Montreal in a blockbuster deal.

Now, the former Hesiman Trophy winner will get a crack at his former squad.

“I feel fortunate enough to be going up against a defence that I’ve seen more than any other defence that I’ve seen since I’ve been in the CFL,” Manziel told “I feel like I really know this personnel very well. I feel like I know this team in and out because I was a part of it. It’s definitely going to be a little weird playing against those guys but at the end of the day it’s business. I’m in a new home. It’ll be good to see some familiar faces this week, but also a challenge in a very good defence.”

The 1-5 Als are in need of a spark and hope that starting Johnny football will be a catalyst for change. Sports fans across north America tuned in last week to watch the Als take on the Edmonton Eskimos after reports surfaced that the former Heisman trophy winner would see the field at some point during the match.

However, Montreal decided to keep Vernon Adams Jr. in for the game’s entirety. The Als defence could not hold off the offensive prowess of Mike Reilly and company, falling 44-23.

It would have been difficult for Manziel to excel in a game situation after just a couple days at practice. However, the starting pivot says he feels prepared to take the field on Friday night.

“I feel like the thing I’ve been missing even over the course of this year and a couple years is reps,” said Manziel. “As you guys have seen the past couple days the chance to get with the ones [first team offence] and get some reps is what I feel like I really need and what I’ve talked to a lot of people about. I feel very blessed to be in this position, to be back in a situation where I’m starting a game.”

The Als rank in the basement in a number of statistical categories heading into Week 8. Montreal’s offence is averaging a league low 15.3 points per game while the defence is giving up a league worst 420.3 yards per game.

Something has to change. The good news? The East Division is still anyone’s for the taking, and a win against the 2-4 Ticats would put the Als in a more favourable position heading into the midway point of the season.

The Ticats are looking to get back on track as well after starting the season 2-1, but dropping their last three games. Hamilton’s most recent loss came at the hands of the East-leading Ottawa REDBLACKS. The Ticats’ defence was able to keep the REDBLACKS out of the end zone all game, but Ottawa still managed to leave Tim Hortons Field with a 21-15 victory thanks to seven field goals from rookie Lewis Ward.

Ticats pivot Jeremiah Masoli completed 26 of 38 attempts, throwing for 352 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Masoli found Jalen Saunders with less than two minutes to go for the game’s only major to close in on the REDBLACKS’ lead, but it was too little too late for the Tabbies. Saunders finished the day with an impressive 154 yards on eight catches while Brandon Banks had nine receptions for 113 yards.

“We have to do a better job communicating as an offence,” Masoli told after the game. “We’ve got plays there, and we’re off just a little bit in our assignments. We don’t execute. We don’t finish. We’ve got all these long drives and all these yards but no points to show for them.”

The Black and Gold will get a boost on offence with Alex Green slated to make his season debut on Friday night after breaking his hand in the pre-season.

Receiver Luke Tasker is also back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a lower body injury, as is Terrence Toliver.

“It is such a slight difference between winning and losing,” said Tasker. “It’s so hard to see the tiniest things that we could have done different that nobody else knows watching the game. …We could have had both of those last two games. I’m just excited to be back and try to make it a little better.”

There was a concern Banks might not be able to suit up after missing time at practice. But the Ticats’ game-breaking receiver is listed as a starter on the team’s depth chart.

The Ticats know there is a little bit more on the line Friday night as they go up against the quarterback they traded. Head Coach June Jones says his defence won’t be taking it easy on Manziel.

“I think they’ll treat him just like any other quarterback and try to hit him and try to sack him and all that stuff,” said Jones. “We better contain him. That’s what I know, because he can do a lot of things. He’s a little like Jeremiah. If you give him a window, he’s going to run. You have to contain him and make him throw the ball to us. That’s what we need to do.”

Crunchin’ Numbers:

– Win for the Alouettes in their last 17 games. That is the poorest 17-game stretch in their history.

– Interceptions thrown this season by Jeremiah Masoli, the most in the CFL.

536 – Team leading receiving yards for Jalen Saunders. He is on pace to exceed the 1,600-yard mark and reach 105 catches this season.

It hasn’t been the start to 2018 that the Ticats or Alouettes envisioned, but both teams know there is plenty of time to right the ship.

History is on Hamilton’s side, as the Black and Gold have won 5 of the last 6 games against Montreal including a two-game sweep last year.

While Masoli is 12-13 as a starter, he is a perfect 3-0 against the Alouettes.

Manziel’s record against the Ticats? To be determined.

– With files from

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 PPV: CFL – Hamilton Tiger-Cats @Montreal Alouettes, August 3, 7:30p (1:30a CEST)

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