CFL Preview - Hamilton (6-11) at Toronto (8-9)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: With the playoffs still a possibility, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats try
their best to close out the 2012 regular season on a high note as they clash
with the Toronto Argonauts on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.
Heading into the final week, Hamilton managed to stay alive by taking out
Winnipeg on Oct. 27 by a score of 28-18, ensuring that the Blue Bombers were
the first team in the CFL to be locked out of the postseason. Now the Tiger-
Cats need to again help themselves with a win against Toronto and have
Edmonton fall to Calgary on Friday to finish in third place in the East
Against the Blue Bombers, quarterback Henry Burris completed 15-of-27 passes
for 171 yards and a couple of scores, while defender Greg Peach recovered a
fumble near the goal line and rolled into the end zone for a major by the
defense in the first frame, as the 'Cats built a 22-point lead. Hamilton
finished with a mere 240 yards of total offense but more importantly, was
flagged just four times for a loss of 24 yards.
Burris, who needs just 130 yards for his second 5,000-yard passing campaign,
also needs just one more passing score to establish a new personal high as
well. As long as he refrains from making too many mistakes, the Temple
University product should also finish with the best efficiency rating of his
career, currently sitting at 104.3 to lead the league.
An interesting note about the Tiger-Cats, a team which has led the league in
points just once in nearly four decades, they have the potential to turn the
trick this year for the first time since 1999 and if it happens they'll become
the only team in league history to achieve the feat while also owning a record
below .500. At the moment, the team trails Calgary by just four total points.
As for the Argonauts, they made sure to take care of their own destiny last
weekend with a 31-26 victory over Saskatchewan on the road. Just the second
win in the last seven games for Toronto, the decision served to snap a three-
game slide for the team and lock up second place in the East Division
standings as well.
Quarterback Ricky Ray had one of his best games of the season for the Argos as
he completed 24-of-30 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns, working his
way through just a single sack and an interception as his squad held on for
While it was certainly a secondary consideration behind picking up the
victory, the performance of Chad Owens was also of interest as he continued
his pursuit of 4,000 combined yards. Owens tallied five receptions for 104
yards, including a 60-yard score, finishing with 211 yards overall, which
means he has amassed an amazing 3,768 yards to this point. While 4,000 yards
might be a stretch at this stage, the all-time record for combined yards in a
single season is still within his reach as he needs just 73 yards to surpass
Mike Clemons who tallied 3,840 yards back in 1997.
Another milestone Owens has in his sights is that of becoming the first player
in CFL history to lead the league in both kick return yards and receiving in
the same season. Unless something dramatic happens in the former category,
Owens should have that one sewn up as he leads by 162 yards over his closest
competitor and only figures to add to his total. In the receiving column, the
Hawaii product has 91 catches for 1,289 yards, 48 yards ahead of Nik Lewis of
Calgary for the top spot.
However, a wrinkle that could change how many yards Owens might be able to
produce is the fact that Ray will not be starting this final game of the
regular season. Because it is a short week for Toronto, Ray isn't necessarily
100 percent healthy and there's not much to really play for at the moment, the
CFL's Offensive Player of the Week will be hanging out on the sidelines which
means Jarious Jackson will get the start.
In addition to Jackson taking control of the Toronto offense, head coach Scott
Milanovich will probably also use the opportunity to get some playing time for
even more of his bench players, specifically Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros
who could stand the exposure.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, Hamilton is still ahead by a count
of 123-89-2 dating back to 1950, even though the Argos have won two in a row
and three of the last four encounters. The most recent of those contests took
place two months ago also at Rogers Centre with Toronto posting a 45-31
triumph, the top scoring effort of the entire season for the Argos.
Even though Ray will not be taking the field for the Argonauts this week, that
doesn't mean Hamilton will have an easy time of it. In fact, preparing for
Toronto is probably even tougher for the Tiger-Cats because they can't be sure
what the Argos will throw at them, and that's a problem. However, rest assured
that Burris will do everything in his power to put his team in position to
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hamilton 28, Toronto 20
10/31 11:28:29 ET
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