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CFL Preview - British Columbia (6-3) at Hamilton (4-5)

From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor

DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 7, 4:00 p.m. (et).

GAME NOTES: A perfect 5-0 at home this season, the British Columbia Lions now try to find the secret to winning on the road as they clash with the Hamilton Tigers-Cats on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium at the University of Guelph.

BC, which is a solid 6-3 at the moment, finds itself sitting in third place in the West Division where Saskatchewan (8-1) and Calgary (7-2) continue to ring up wins at an accelerated rate partly because the Lions are just 1-3 on the road in 2013. The good news, however, is that this week the opposition is one that has already bowed down to British Columbia, within the last week in fact.

On Friday, Aug. 30, the Lions hosted Hamilton at BC Place and, despite scoring in every quarter, still had to hold on down the stretch for a 29-26 victory over the Ticats. Quarterback Travis Lulay converted 26-of-36 pass attempts for 359 yards and three touchdowns, picking himself off the ground only once following a sack. The signal caller was also credited with three rushing attempts, one of which culminated in a trip to the end zone.

Receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux caught four balls for a game-high 113 yards and a major, the touchdown coming on a lengthy 80-yard pass play in the second quarter.

As for Hamilton, which is now a game under .500 overall on the season but still just two points out of the lead in the East Division standings where only one team (Toronto) has a winning record, Henry Burris missed only seven of his 36 pass attempts, leading to 352 yards and two touchdowns, but at the same time he was intercepted once and sacked four times. Dan LeFevour stepped in under center for a spell and he too was sacked once, showing just how aggressive the BC defense was during Week 10 action.

Neither team ran the ball particularly well, with BC coming away with just 65 yards on 18 attempts, but in the case of the 'Cats, they attempted only nine rushing plays, three by LeFevour who actually scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter. Hamilton was credited with just 50 yards rushing in the outing.

The mediocre rushing effort is nothing really new for the Tiger-Cats though, with the team averaging just 87.5 ypg on the ground through the first eight games of the campaign. Instead Hamilton, which had a three-game win streak snapped with the most recent setback, attacks almost primarily through the air, having attempted the most passes in the league through eight games with 285.

One positive for the Tiger-Cats through Week 9 action was the pass defense which had allowed a league-low 147 completions and 61.5 percent accuracy for opponents. Then again, the only other team to have a better percentage against foes in that department was BC (.613) which could cancel out any effort made by the Hamilton secondary.

Midway through the season Burris, now in his second year with the 'Cats, still had an efficiency rating of 101.8, but after setting a huge standard for himself a year ago with 43 touchdown passes, it will be hard for him to come up with a number close to that, considering he has just 14 aerial majors thus far.

British Columbia has now won three in a row over the Ticats, pushing its lead in the all-time series to 49-32-3, when taking into consideration only regular-season bouts tracing back to 1961.

Hamilton plans to celebrate a key moment in the team's history this weekend, honoring the 1943-44 squad that was known then as the Flying Wildcats and won the 31st Grey Cup over Winnipeg R.C.A.F., but that probably won't be enough of a boost to get the current squad back on track and into the win column.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: British Columbia 31, Hamilton 20

09/04 11:15:04 ET

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