It’s an East Division showdown this week, as the 6-2 Hamilton Tiger-Cats travel to Ottawa to take on the 3-5 Redblacks. Hamilton currently sit six points up on Ottawa for first place in the East, and are looking to pull even further ahead this week. These are your 3 Keys for Ticats @ Redblacks.
1.Speedy B’s outstanding season
Brandon Banks has been nothing short of outstanding this season. Despite having missed one game due to injury, he leads the CFL in both receiving yards (691) and receptions (51). Banks was also named a CFL Top Performer of the Week in both Week 5 and Week 9, as well as being named a CFL Top Performer of the Month in June.
After catching two touchdowns last week, including the game winner with just over a minute left in the game, it’s safe to say that Banks and new starter Dane Evans have begun to create some chemistry.
If Banks continues to produce like he has, the Ticats will likely be in good shape this week in Ottawa and for the rest of the season.
2.Dane Evans settling in
When Jeremiah Masoli went down with a season ending knee injury against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, there was some panic within the Ticats fan base, and rightfully so. Whenever you lose your starting quarterback, especially a star like Masoli, there’s going to be some adjustment. Then once you factor in the scars of the past that the fans carry with them, you can understand the worry.
Now, after seeing Dane Evans play two and a half games, there has been a bit of a collective exhale from the fans. Breathe. Everything is going to be ok.
Since throwing an interception on their first offensive snap in Regina, the Ticats have not turned the ball over. One thing Head Coach Orlondo Steinauer has preached all year has been take care of the football, and with the exception of the one play, Dane Evans has done just that.
After leading the team down the field on a game winning touchdown drive, Dane Evans is beginning to show just how good he can be. Ticats fans will be hoping that continues this week in the nation’s capital.
3.Special Teams dominance
The return game has been a major storyline league wide this season. With more than half of the season still to play, there has already been a CFL record nine kickoff return touchdowns this year. In total there have been 18 return touchdowns in 2019.
Hamilton has been no stranger to return touchdowns this season. Frankie Williams had three massive returns last week, including one touchdown and a touchdown that was called back because of a penalty. Williams leads the CFL in kick return yards and his fourth in punt return yards, adding one touchdown in both categories.
Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Reinebold has down a tremendous job, and Head Coach Orlondo Steinauer says he’s one of the best around, either side of the border.
The Ticats will be hoping, their special teams production continues this week and for the rest of the season.