Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Ticats, Als prepare for East Division battle

Top spot in the East Division standings will be on the line Saturday when Kevin Glenn and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats host the Montreal Alouettes.

But of more importance to Glenn is Hamilton maintaining its winning ways and extending its win streak to five games.

"A lot of people, they're making it bigger than it actually is," he said. "It's the next game (on our schedule), so it's the most important game. But the first place situation, it's only Week 10. Where's it saying the team that's in first place in Week 10 will be the team that's in first place in Week 18?

Story continues below advertisement

"The most important thing is we want to keep our winning streak going. We're playing in front of our home crowd and it's a division opponent. Right now, we're down in the series with them 0-1."

Hamilton (5-4) heads into the game Saturday (TSN, 1 p.m. ET) tied for second in the East with Toronto behind Montreal (6-3) despite losing four of its first five games. And three Ticats - Glenn (offensive player), slotback Dave Stala (outstanding Canadian) and linebacker Markeith Knowlton (special teams) - received weekly CFL honours for their roles in the club's 28-13 win over the Argos on Labour Day.

Montreal will have a new quarterback under centre as Adrian McPherson comes off the nine-game injured list to make his season debut. Ricky Santos will be the backup, with veteran Anthony Calvillo serving as the No. 3 as he recovers from a sternum injury that forced to miss last week's loss to B.C.

All five of Hamilton's wins have come against two teams - Winnipeg (three victories) and Toronto (two). One of their losses this season was a sobering 37-14 defeat in Montreal.

Hamilton is a solid 3-1 at home this year and 5-2 within the East Division.

Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said his club has played well throughout the entire first half of the season, including a heartbreaking one-point loss against CFL-leading Calgary. Now, he wants to see some consistency.

"Can we consistently play (winning football) week in and week out, regardless of who our opponent is," he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Key will be whether the Hamilton offence can get things going. Glenn begins the week as the CFL's second-leading passer (behind Saskatchewan's Darian Durant), completing 211-of-313 attempts for 2,724 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. And slotback Arland Bruce III is the league's leading receiver with 58 receptions for 862 yards and five TDs.

"I have great respect for (the Montreal) secondary," said Bellefeuille, who expects to see man-to-man coverage. "So I think it will be a great matchup for the fans to watch."

Glenn said it will all be about "execution."

Calvillo is the league's third-leading passer, despite missing a game and a half due to a bruised sternum suffered three weeks ago against Winnipeg.

McPherson returns after suffering a knee injury during training camp. Chris Leak replaced Calvillo against the Bombers and started in Montreal's 38-17 loss against B.C. last week. But he left in the third quarter with a hip injury so Santos will serve as the backup to McPherson.

Bellefeuille said he hadn't paid much attention to Montreal's quarterback situation, adding his team would be prepared for whoever plays.

Story continues below advertisement

Hamilton linebacker Otis Floyd agreed.

"We're going to just go in there and play our game," he said. "MacPherson, if he's playing, he might run a little bit more, so we've got to put a little bit more stuff in there to get at him.

"He's a good quarterback. He just hasn't had that much experience in the CFL. He's been off for nine weeks with an injury. We've just got to go out there and get at him."

Montreal's offence will face a Ticats' defence that's second in fewest touchdowns allowed (17) and points allowed (228). In both cases, though, the Alouettes stand third.

But both teams also feature weapons on their special teams. Montreal's Tim Maypray leads the league in kickoff returns and missed field goal returns, while Hamilton's Marcus Thigpen has already scored TDs this season by returning a kickoff, a punt and a missed field goal.

Report an error
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.