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Game Preview: Ticats vs Lions

The Ticats put their perfect 4-0 home record on the line this week as the BC Lions make the trip to Hamilton and Tim Hortons Field, in what will be the first of two meetings in three weeks. BC is currently 1-6 and are coming off of a bye week. Hamilton is coming off a heartbreaking loss in Saskatchewan.

Dane Evans made his first start of the season, and after a rocky start, he settled in nicely. The 25 year old Texan threw for 196 yards with a touchdown and an interception. With Speedy B out with an injury, Luke Tasker stepped up and was the team’s leading receiver with 77 yards on five catches. Anthony Coombs caught the lone touchdown, making a beautiful toe touch catch at the pylon for six points.

Defensively, Nick Shortill led the way with nine tackles. Dylan Wynn recorded the teams only sack but he was in Fajardo’s face all night long. Richard Leonard was a one man fumble forcing machine, causing two fumbles and almost recovering one, but it slipped through his hands.

As for the Lions, they’ve struggled this season. They made a big splash in the offseason, signing prized quarterback Mike Reilly to a four-year $2.9-million deal on the first day of free agency. They’ve struggled to protect him though. They’ve allowed 25 sacks through their first seven games, and he’s been under pressure a ton throughout those games. Getting after the quarterback will be key for the Ticats this week, as they try to continue to make Reilly feel uncomfortable.

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The Ticats will be getting boosts on both sides of the ball for this game. Brandon Banks is returning from injury, so he’ll look to continue his MOP caliber season. Cameron Marshall will get the start at running back after Maleek Irons went down with an injury on the first offensive play of the game last week.

Defensively, Simoni Lawrence is back after serving his two game suspension. Adrian Tracy will also make his return after missing last week with an injury. This means the Ticats’ front seven will be in tact and ready to get after Mike Reilly.

The Lions and Ticats split their season series last year. BC picked up the win in the first game, in a thrilling double overtime game. Jeremiah Masoli was lights out, throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns on 76% passing.

Mike Jones posted a career high 138 receiving yards. Jones was also on the other end of both touchdown passes from Masoli. Luke Tasker was the team’s second leading receiver, catching all five of his targets for 77 yards.

Defensively, the Ticats were able to get to Jonathon Jennings once as Adrian Tracy recorded the lone sack. Ultimately, the Ticats couldn’t hold off the Lions’ comeback, and they would fall 35-32 on the road.

It was a different story when the Lions made the trip to Tim Hortons Field. Hamilton got off to a blazing start, scoring twenty points the first quarter, including two touchdowns passes to Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker.

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Masoli finished the game with 189 passing yards, completing 69% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns. Speedy B was the game’s leading receiver, catching 9 passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Ticats terrorized Jennings and the Lions’ offence. Jennings was sacked six times, including sacks from Julian Howsare and Brett Wade, while Ted Laurent added two sacks of his own. Jennings threw three interceptions, with both Mike Daly and Cariel brooks picking off the BC quarterback.

Former Ticats running back John White is making his return to Hamilton for the first time since singing with BC in the offseason. White played in seven games last season for the Ticats, where he had 78 carries for 400 yards and two touchdowns. This season he has played all seven games for the Lions, rushing for 329 yards on 71 carries and two touchdowns.

White and the rest of the Lions will take on the Ticats Saturday, at 7 p.m. at Tim Hortons Field.

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