CFL Preview - Hamilton (1-4) at Edmonton (1-4)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, August 2, 9:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams with just two wins between them after five weeks
of action, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Edmonton Eskimos are set to square off
at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday night.
Edmonton, which is playing in front of the hometown crowd for the first time
in three weeks, has dropped three consecutive decisions and is all alone in
last place in the Western Division with a record of 1-4. Having given up 40
more points than they've scored, the Eskimos are the only squad in the
division with a losing record at the moment.
As for the Tiger-Cats, their early play has been just as disappointing with
only one win in five chances as well. Winless in both of their road dates, the
Cats are currently tied with Winnipeg for last place in the Eastern Division
standings , but even at a mere 1-4 they are just two points behind Montreal
for second place.
Hamilton had a chance for an upset versus Saskatchewan last Saturday at home,
opening the contest on a 10-0 run versus a Roughriders squad that was fielding
a backup quarterback in Drew Willy, but the defense failed to hold up their
end of the bargain in what turned into a 32-20 defeat.
Hamilton registered just three points over the final 30 minutes of action,
courtesy of a 36-yard field goal by Luca Congi in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Henry Burris put the ball in the air 41 times, resulting in 26
receptions and a hefty 395 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but even that was
not enough. While moving into fourth place on the CFL's all-time list for
passing touchdowns with 308, Burris also had to fight off constant pressure
that produced seven sacks. Even Burris, who is now fifth on the all-time
completions list in league history with 3,410, could not weather the storm
brought on by the Riders as they remained the lone undefeated squad in the
While the Ticats were being set down by Saskatchewan, Edmonton was mounting a
late comeback bid against Montreal on the road that just fell short last
Thursday night in a 32-27 decision. The Esks tallied a total of only six
points in the first half, but came alive in the third and fourth quarters with
a combined 21 points, but still the visitors were sent home with yet another
Mike Reilly saw the most time under center for Edmonton, hitting on 16-of-28
passes for 262 yards and two scores, but he was also picked off once and had
to deal with three sacks as well. Kerry Joseph managed to get off one pass
attempt for the Esks, while Jonathan Crompton threw four passes in the meeting
and completed as many to his own teammates (one) as he did to the Montreal
Fred Stamps led all receivers with six catches for 103 yards, but it was Cary
Koch who stole some of the spotlight with not only a 24-yard catch for a score
in the final period, but also an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown to kick
off the scoring in the second half in order to give Edmonton a fighting
Running back Hugh Charles, who had a season-high 119 yards rushing on 11
carries against Hamilton in the first meeting of the season thanks to a long
of 70 yards, was limited to just five carries for 27 yards by the Montreal
From a defensive standpoint, Edmonton had no answers on how to even slow down
Brandon Whitaker who rumbled for 162 yards and a score on 24 attempts. It also
didn't help that the Eskimos were again beaten down by their own poor
execution, suffering 13 penalties for a loss of 111 yards.
Heading into Week 5 action, Edmonton was one of the most penalized clubs in
the league with an average of just under 12 flags per contest, and that trend
continued to the dismay of head coach Kavis Reed who continues to seek an
answer to his team's troubled play on both sides of the ball.
The Esks won the first meeting of the season between the squads back on July 7
by a score of 30-20 on the road. In that contest, Edmonton's Reilly threw for
two touchdowns and ran for another, while Burris threw for 234 yards and a
score for Hamilton, but was picked off twice and sacked four times.
With the victory, their fourth in the last five encounters with Winnipeg, the
Eskimos pushed their lead to 54-39-1 in the all-time series, taking into
consideration only regular-season bouts played since 1950.
Neither one of these teams has put together solid efforts on a consistent
basis. Hamilton might be winless on the road thus far, but at the same time
the Eskimos have yet to win at home in two tries, which means almost anything
can happen in this particular meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Edmonton 27, Hamilton 22
07/31 11:44:28 ET
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