LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Saskatchewan Roughriders @Hamilton Tiger-Cats, July 19, 7:30p (1:30a CEST)

HAMILTON — Two weeks removed from an 18-13 Riders win in Regina, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders will meet at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton to do it all again.

On the Ticat side of the matchup, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is chasing history: The Ole Miss product could set the CFL’s all-time record for most consecutive 300-plus passing-yard games with a strong performance against Saskatchewan on Thursday.

The record currently sits at nine, and is shared by Masoli, Kent Austin (1991, Saskatchewan) and Sam Etcheverry (1956, Montreal).

For Saskatchewan, the opportunity to build off a Week-4 win on home turf could be pivotal in determining what role Chris Jones’s club will play in the West — a division that’s virtually wide open after the undefeated Calgary Stampeders.

If the Riders have their way, Masoli won’t earn sole possession of the record.

It will, however, be a tough ask: the Ticat pivot is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league today, and still managed 333 passing yards in his team’s 13-point effort in Regina.

“That guy can sling the ball all over the field,” defensive end Tobi Antigha told Riderville.com. “He’s very confident in every throw that he makes. You see it on film: He’s scrambling, scrambling and then he throws it. He has confidence that his receivers will be in the right spot to make the play for him. He moves around the pocket. He’s not really a guy who’ll scramble to run, but he’ll scramble to extend the play and ultimately take a shot down the field — and that’s always dangerous.”

The blueprint is in place for the Riders to be successful defensively come Thursday night: Rally to the football, reset mentally after surrendering big plays, and tighten up when their backs are against the wall.

“They’re averaging somewhere over 400 yards a game, so we’re not going to sit there and completely shut a team down,” said Jones. “They’re going to make their plays and when they do, we’ve got to have a strong will and continue to come back and play the next play.”

Brandon Bridge was tabbed as Jones’s starting quarterback early in the week, though it remains to be seen how much of a leash the Toronto, Ont. native will have. He was, after all, replaced before the end of the first quarter — only to return to finish the ballgame — when these teams met two weeks ago.

The South Alabama alumnus believes his coach’s impassioned reaming out of his team on Tuesday made a difference in Saskatchewan’s mindset entering Hamilton.

“I think we were more mentally locked in,” said Bridge following walkthrough in Hamilton on Wednesday. “We didn’t have any missed assignments during our walk-through and that’s one of the big things. If it’s the day before the game and you’re having mental busts, it’s definitely not a good sign. (It would show) that people aren’t really focused on practice. Today, everyone was locked in, everyone was focused, everyone knew their assignments and people were ready to play.”

Saskatchewan will make just one change to its Week-4 roster, swapping out one Canadian — D-lineman Makana Henry — for another in safety Tristan Doughlin.

In Hamilton, as much as Masoli’s shot at history would be a nice feather in his and the team’s caps, wins are what matters. Period.

And irrespective of his 333 yards in Regina last time out, he would be the first to tell you he was not good enough: One interception and zero touchdowns is not up to the standard of any starting quarterback in CFL, let alone one of Masoli’s quality.

“There were some easy reads on my part that I need to bring more attention to when I’m preparing and detailing,” Masoli told The Canadian Press. “Obviously they did some different stuff that kind of caught me off guard but for me it’s just executing my plays and going through my progressions and making sure my eyes and feet are right. “Besides that, we had some missed opportunities out there that we’ve been focusing on capitalizing on.”

It remains to be seen what the 29 year-old’s receiver group will look like on Thursday, as Luke Tasker is listed as a game-time decision.

Hamilton head coach June Jones intends to let Tasker take the warmup, then make a decision — rookie Rashad Lawrence will likely slide into Tasker’s spot at slotback if it’s a no-go.

“He’s a sharp kid mentally, (and) learning as he’s getting more reps,” said Jones of Lawrence, a 26 year-old with extensive time on NFL practice squads. “You don’t go to Northwestern unless you’re a smart kid. He’s got some ability, (and) it’ll be fun to watch him play.”

As for preparing for the back end of a home-and-home — with the added film room time that comes with a bye week in the middle of the series — Jones and his staff have gone deep into the archives to scout the Riders this week.

“As a coach, I’m sitting there looking at things they did three years ago,” chuckled Jones. “(HC Chris Jones) did a lot of things a couple years ago that he doesn’t do now. We looked closely, they’re going to tweak what they’ve done, Chris does a good job of that and the kids play hard for him.”

Hamilton’s secondary will be boosted by the return of Richard Leonard this week; the Florida International product came into 2018 with a chip on his shoulder following what he believed to be a snub in Rookie of the Year voting, and began the year brightly before a Week-2 injury against Edmonton.

University of Ottawa product Jackson Bennett draws back into the lineup, while rookie Jerome Couplin III — formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles — also enters.

2018 first-round draft pick Darius Ciraco will make his fifth-straight appearance for the Ticats; the former Calgary Dino has been nothing short of an immediate impact player early in his rookie campaign.

Crunchin’ Numbers:

— Non-injury quarterback changes from drive to drive in the Riders’ Week-4 win over Hamilton. No other team has done that since the league began in-depth tracking in 2009.

8 – Per cent of drives in games involving Saskatchewan end in touchdowns. That’s a sharp drop from the 18 per cent mark in the 15 non-Saskatchewan games played thus far in 2018. Translation: The Riders are a defensive team, and wins will likely come via defence.

100-plus – Three-straight games of triple-digit receiving yards for Hamilton’s Brandon Banks, who has flourished under June Jones’s offence.

6,000 — The CFL has never had two quarterbacks eclipse the 6,000-yard mark in the same season, but both Masoli and Edmonton’s Mike Reilly are on pace to be in the vicinity come the end of the season.

Two ball clubs still trying to find their identity in 2018, the Riders and Ticats will both see opportunity in the logjams that are their respective division standings.

Saskatchewan’s defence has looked downright monstrous at times to begin the season, while Hamilton’s offence has flashed moments of being unstoppable.

Consistency is what both teams crave, and this Week-6 Thursday Night Football contest could go a long way towards helping one of them find it.

– With files from Riderville.com/Ticats.ca

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 – Saskatchewan Roughriders @Hamilton Tiger-Cats, July 19, 7:30p (1:30a CEST)

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