The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes meet in a Saturday afternoon matinee and a potential Eastern Final preview at Percival-Molson Stadium.
Hamilton has already wrapped up first place in the East, clinching themselves the right to host the Eastern Final, while Montreal has settled into second place and will welcome the Edmonton Eskimos on Nov. 10 for the Eastern Semi-Final.
Although the playoff positioning for both teams has been secured for a few weeks, neither has let their foot off the gas pedal, as evidenced by their victories in Week 19.
Montreal had to grind out a win against the Toronto Argonauts at home. Three Vernon Adams Jr. touchdown passes did the trick for Montreal. Meanwhile, Hamilton thumped the REDBLACKS at Tim Hortons Field in a strong defensive performance.
The win was a monumental one for the Ticats, as they earned 13 wins in a single regular season for the first time in franchise history.
Saturday’s running back matchup is an intriguing one. Tyrell Sutton is returning to his old stomping grounds after spending parts of six seasons with the Als. The veteran was signed by the Tiger-Cats to be the next in a long line of players at the running back position.
Sutton seems to be fitting in well, as his 149 all-purpose yards last week earned him consideration for Shaw Top Performer.
“It’s just a testament to the way we play out here in Hamilton,” Sutton told Ticats.ca. “I’m just being a team-first guy and trying to get those wins. The IQ around here is second to none. I’ve been around some teams where guys just don’t get it. A lot of the guys in this room are IQ-savvy and know the game of football.”
Opposite Sutton is Jeremiah Johnson, who gets the start as the Als rest William Stanback. Johnson has enjoyed a strong 2019 despite seeing limited reps behind Stanback. His 5.8 yards per carry are more than serviceable, and Johnson had a receiving touchdown last week against the Argos.
Montreal had a big game on the ground the last time the Als and Ticats met. In Week 4, Stanback put the team on his back, rushing for 203 yards on 22 touches while scoring three touchdowns. His hurdle and dive for the pylon in the fourth quarter made the highlight reels, and the 36-29 victory was Montreal’s first of the season.
D.J. Lalama is getting the start at middle linebacker in Muamba’s absence. Lalama started the year on Winnipeg’s practice roster before making his way to the Alouettes. The University of Manitoba alum also spent time in Montreal in 2017.
“I think we’ve got a good team to do what we do,” defensive back Greg Reid told MontrealAlouettes.com. “Once we’re playing good football and hustling to the ball, I don’t think anyone can really put points on the board, as long as we’re locked in. We’re just continuing to do what we do and what the coaches want us to do – that’s effort and enjoying ourselves.”
John Bowman rejoins the Alouettes ranks after getting rested last week. Despite being 37 years old and in his 14th CFL season, Bowman’s 45 tackles are the most he’s had in any single year.
While Montreal rests key players, all the big names are in the lineup for the Tiger-Cats. In fact, their lineup might be even stronger than the one they fielded against Ottawa last week. Luke Tasker re-enters the fold and starts at slotback opposite Bralon Addison.
“Every time we take the field, we’re going to expect to win,” Orlondo Steinauer told Ticats.ca. “It doesn’t matter who we roll out there at quarterback, running back or receiver. We’re not in a position to rest everyone, nor is that really our plan.”
Montreal is one of only two teams in the CFL without a 1,000-yard receiver in 2019, but Geno Lewis is close. Adams Jr.’s go-to target is sitting on 983 receiving yards. Lewis started his career on the Alouettes practice roster in 2017 and the Oklahoma alum has seen his workload grow each season.
“It would be my first 1,000-yard season ever,” Lewis told said. “I never had one in high school and I never had one in college. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be in this situation. It just shows that if you work hard, put your head down and grind it out, you never know what will happen.”
BY THE NUMBERS
2015 – The last time the Alouettes won a season series with the Tiger-Cats.
371 – Average passing yards-per-game for Dane Evans over his last six starts.
4 – Straight games in which Hamilton has led by 20 or more points at some time during the game.
– With files from Ticats.ca and MontrealAlouettes.com
AFI, Yare Media and the CFL
American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2019 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.