CFL Preview - Hamilton (3-6) at Toronto (5-4)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 8, 1:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats try to bring an end to their four-game
slide this weekend as they clash with the Toronto Argonauts for the second
straight week, this time on the road at Rogers Centre.
Last week Hamilton, now third in the East Division standings, held a 22-11
advantage over the Argos heading into the fourth quarter at home, but the
defense for the hosts completely fell apart and allowed the visitors to tie
the game at 30-30 before Toronto kicker Swayze Waters knocked through a 34-
yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Argos a
thrilling three-point win.
Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris had a roller-coaster game as he completed
13-of-30 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also sacked three
times and had two passes picked off, one of which was returned 37 yards for a
score by Ahmad Carroll in the final period of play.
While the 'Cats were saddled with the loss, the game was not without its share
of highlights for the visitors, as Chris Williams raced into the end zone from
82 yards out on a punt return in the first quarter, giving him six total
returns for touchdowns in just nine games this season. A remarkable
achievement for last year's Most Outstanding Rookie in the CFL, Williams has
also set a record with three straight games with at least one punt return for
Searching for a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing first half of the
campaign, Hamilton can certainly celebrate the efforts of Williams who has
generated 609 yards on 34 punts and is also a crucial piece of the offense
with 41 receptions for another 652 yards and five majors. An electrifying
player every time he gets his hands on the ball, Williams leads the league in
touchdowns with 11.
While Williams is second in the league in combined yards with 1,640, far ahead
of him is Toronto's Chad Owens who is a highlight film all by himself.
Responsible for the first score of the game last week when he split a couple
of defenders to leap for a 39-yard TD pass from Ricky Ray, Owens finished with
11 catches for a massive 176 yards. The under-sized ball of energy from Hawaii
also added five punt returns for 90 yards and six kickoff returns for an
additional 136 yards.
With 402 all-purpose yards, Owens set the new standard for the Argonauts and
now has the third-best mark in CFL history which means he is well on his way
to posting his third straight season with at least 3,000 total yards, which is
But with all the good Owens can create for Toronto, he can also be a bit
frustrating at times as he dares to take a few too many chances and doesn't
always carry the ball as safely as he could. Owens fumbled the ball a couple
of times against Hamilton, a sight that is becoming more and more common and
perhaps a bit acceptable given the positives he brings to the team.
But more than Owens the Argos, now alone in second place in the East Division,
need Ray to put the ball in the end zone more often. The signal-caller
converted 32-of-45 passes for 375 yards last week, but had only the one TD to
Owens. Having attempted more passes (331) than anyone else in the league, Ray
has just 11 TDs to his credit and already has tossed nine INTs, which is not
the norm for him whatsoever.
Then again, don't tell that to the Tiger-Cats because they seem to have had
his number in the 16 games that Ray has faced them. The QB has thrown for more
than 4,600 yards in those outings, but has been sacked 25 times and has tossed
one more interception (18) than touchdowns (17), which is a rather disturbing
Unfortunately for Hamilton, their quarterback is in a similar situation
against Toronto over the years, with Burris having thrown 22 INTs and just 20
TDs in 17 games versus the Argos.
In terms of the all-time, regular-season series between these two squads,
Hamilton is still in control with a 123-88-2 advantage dating back to 1950.
The Argos have managed to take two of the last three encounters, but it is
Hamilton that has captured seven wins in the last nine games against Toronto.
The squads are slated to close out the regular season against each other here
in Toronto on November 1.
Expect Williams and Owens to again be the stars of the show this week for
their respective teams, although the outcome could easily be decided by the
quarterback that makes the fewest mistakes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toronto 28, Hamilton 23
09/05 11:10:21 ET
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