Eskimos Game Day: Kilgore at the controls against Ticats
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (9-3) at Edmonton Eskimos (6-6) 7:30 p.m. MT, Commonwealth Stadium. TSN, CISN Country 103.9
WEATHER REPORT: Mix of sun and clouds, 16 C, 24 kmh NW
THE LINE: Hamilton by 2.5
Points for: HAM 29.5 (2nd), EDM 24.2 (6th)
Points against: HAM 19.7 (2nd), EDM 21.3 (3rd)
Rushing yards: HAM 100 (4th), EDM 91 (6th)
Passing yards: HAM 295 (4th), EDM 329 (1st)
Net yards: HAM 377 (2nd), EDM 414 (1st)
Net yards against: HAM 368 (6th), EDM 279 (1st)
Five Things to Watch
HIGH-OCTANE OFFENCE: Friday’s game will showcase the two biggest yards-producing offences in the league, with Hamilton’s 377 net yards per game second only to Edmonton’s 414 net yards. The biggest difference comes from the league-leading 329 passing yards the Eskimos get compared to Hamilton’s fourth-ranked aerial attack of 295 yards per game. Of course, there is the small matter of Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris sitting out his first game of the season with an injury to his throwing hand.
TURNOVER TALE: Hamilton sits fourth with a turnover ratio of plus-5, ahead of fifth-place Edmonton at minus-3. But the Ticats have coughed up the ball 19 times over its past five games, four of which – fortunately – came against the three worst teams in the league. Interestingly, Edmonton comes out ahead with 46 points off of turnovers compared to 43 points by Hamilton.
SACK ATTACK: Both the Eskiimos and Ticats come into this one tied for third place with 33 sacks on the season. However, an Eskimos defence that has led the league in that department over the entire first half of the season hasn’t earned a sack in its past two games now, while the Tabbies have surrendered nine in their last two games.
HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE? All three of Hamilton’s losses this season have come on the road, with two of them coming against the West Division. The Eskimos, meanwhile, are 4-2 at Commonwealth Stadium and 4-1 against East Division opponents. However, Edmonton has lost its last three games, two of which they played at home, while the Ticats saw an end to a four-game win streak with a one-point loss to the Calgary Stampeders last week.
SEEING RED (ZONE): Edmonton’s red-zone challenges have been well documented this season, but the Ticats are giving them a run for the money. Hamilton and Edmonton rank No. 1 and No. 4, respectively, in red zone chances, but sit No. 7 and No. 8 in red zone touchdown percentage, at 51 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.
Eskimos QB Logan Kilgore vs. Ticats QB Dane Evans
Both sides are forced to go with backup quarterbacks Friday. The difference is Kilgore is making his debut start with the Eskimos and his first since 2016, while Evans has led Hamilton to a 4-2 record in Jeremiah Masoli’s absence. Evans has surpassed the 300-yard mark in passing three out of his last four games, but has thrown seven interceptions to four touchdowns in that span. Kilgore has two touchdowns to 11 interceptions on his career.
Inside the Game
Orlondo Steinauer is facing the Eskimos for the first time as a CFL head coach and going head to head with Jason Maas, who is 3-3 all-time as Eskimos head coach. The two cut their coaching teeth together on the staff of a Toronto Argonauts squad that won the 2012 Grey Cup … Edmonton leads the league in time of possession (32:34), while the Ticats are ranked seventh (28:18). But teams that have won the possession battle have only managed to come out on top 30-23 this season … The Ticats, who are a distant second at 377 yards of net offence per game, lead the way with 26.4 offensive points pergame, compared to the Eskimos, who sit sixth with 23.5 offensive points … Eskimos K Sean Whyte brings a streak of 14 straight field goals into the game … Hamilton swept last year’s season series 2-0, but the two teams are tied 7-7 over the last seven years.
EDM 26, HAM 22: Sure, Harris is out and no one has a better record than the Ticats. But if there is one thing the Eskimos have shown they can do is beat East Division teams at home. Of course, we’re only saying that because Jeremiah Masoli, who has shown a penchant for beating up on an Eskimos club that initially brought him into the league, is out with a leg injury.
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge
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