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Head To Head: Tiger-Cats vs Alouettes

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-2) vs. Montreal Alouettes  (3-1)
Game 5 | Friday, July 29 @ 6:30 p.m., EST
Ivor Wynne Stadium – Hamilton, Ontario

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TV BROADCAST:  TSN featuring Chris Cuthbert (play-by-play) and Glen Suitor (analyst)
RADIO BROADCAST:  AM 900 CHML featuring Rick Zamperin (play-by-play) and John Salavantis (analyst)

THE MATCH-UP

Friday’s game will be the first of four regular season meetings between the Tiger-Cats and the Alouettes in the 2011 season. The match-up will be the 161st meeting between the two teams since 1950, with the Alouettes holding an 85-75 advantage in the all-time series. Montreal has won eight out of the last 10 games between the two teams. The last time the Ticats and Alouettes played at Ivor Wynne Stadium on October 22, 2010, Hamilton thumped Montreal 40-3.

The Tiger-Cats are coming into this week’s game on a two-game winning streak, scoring 30 or more points in the past two games. After starting the season 0-2, Hamilton has turned things around. Quarterback Kevin Glenn has thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions during the team’s win streak and the defence, lead by Jamall Johnson, Renauld Williams and Bo Smith, are forcing defences to make mistakes. Montreal, on the other hand, comes into Friday’s matchup coming off of their first loss of the season, dropping their decision against the Roughriders last week. The defending Grey Cup Champions are scoring the most points per game over the first four weeks, as well as sitting at second in the league in total offence, rushing offence and passing offence per game. 

This will be the ninth meeting between head coaches Marcel Bellefeuille and Marc Trestman. Bellefeuille has a career record of 21-27 as a CFL head coach in the regular season and holds a 2-6 record against the Alouettes. Trestman has a career record of 41-17 as a CFL head coach in the regular season and holds a 8-2 record against the Ticats.


2011 STATISTICAL RANKINGS

 

Total Offence Per Game

343.5 (5th)

420.2 (2nd)

Rushing Offence Per Game

103.0 (4th)

123.0 (2nd)

Passing Offence Per Game

255.5 (5th)

306.8 (2nd)

Total Defence Per Game

339.0 (4th)

337.0 (3rd)

Rushing Defence Per Game

107.5 (6th)

89.0 (2nd)

Passing Defence Per Game

250.0 (3rd)

262.8 (4th)

Points Per Game

24.5 (5th)

33.2 (1st)

Opponents Points Per Game

21.5 (3rd)

23.8 (4th)

 

2011 INDIVIDUAL STATISTIC LEADERS

Passing K. Glenn: 79/126, 943 yds, 7 TD, 4 INT     A. Calvillo: 87/130, 1112 yds, 10 TD, 3 INT 
Rushing A. Cobourne: 48-264, 2 TD B. Whitaker: 47-313, 1 TD
Receiving C. Williams: 16-250, 3 TD J. Richardson: 22-308, 2 TD
Tackles J. Johnson: 26* D. Anderson: 17
Sacks J. Johnson: 3 J. Bowman: 4
* = league leader


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Avon Cobourne #22 / RB / Hamilton
Cobourne will receive a lot of attention Friday in his first regular season game against his former squad. Cobourne, who is down-playing the matchup as ‘just another game’, comes into the contest sitting third in the league in rushing yards, with 264 on 48 carries with two touchdowns. The All-Star running back ran for a season high 100 yards last week, sealing the game against the Lions with a 46-yard scamper to the end zone in the fourth quarter. It should also be noted that on Tuesday, ‘Deuces’ took to Twitter to give away 100 free tickets to fans, who will be sitting directly behind the Alouettes bench. Regardless of what Cobourne says in front of the cameras, you can garuntee he’ll be motivated to play well on Friday night. 

Eddie Steele #98 / DT / Hamilton
Earlier in the week, rookie nose-tackle Eddie Steele was named by Tiger-Cats defensive coordinator Corey Chamblin as the player that has developed the most since training camp. The non-import has been impressive so far this year, racking up eight tackles and one quarterback sack through four games. Along with fellow defensive tackle, second-year player Albert Smith, Steele is part of a young and talented Tiger-Cats defensive line which will need to get pressure on Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo.

Anthony Calvillo #13 / QB / Montreal
There is some question as to whether or not Anthony Calvillo will play this week against the Tiger-Cats. Calvillo was knocked out of Montreal’s game last week in the second quarter after getting sacked by Roughriders defensive tackle Dario Romero. Calvillo did not return to the game after experiencing blurred vision on the sidelines and backup quarterback Adrian McPherson finished out the contest. If Calvillo plays, the 18-year veteran will look to build on his successful season to date, throwing for a league high 10 touchdowns with a 66% completion percentage through the first four weeks. It should be noted that the last time Calvillo played at Ivor Wynne in Week 17 of the 2010 season, he was chased from the game after throwing an interception and fumbling a ball that Stevie Baggs scooped up and ran back 80 yards the other way for a touchdown.       

Brandon Whitaker #2 / RB / Montreal
Whitaker is the running back who stepped up to fill the void after Cobourne’s departure from Montreal and so far, the third year runner has performed better than expected. Whitaker has rushed for 313 yards on 47 carries with one touchdown on the season, already totaling more yards in four games than through his first two years in the CFL. The 5’10”, 200 lbs Whitaker is posting an impressive 6.7 yards per carry, a league best among starting running backs. In the same way that Avon Cobourne will be motivated to perform in front of his old team, Whitaker will be striving to prove to the Alouettes that they made the right choice in promoting him to the starting running back role, after spending his first two seasons as Cobourne’s protege.

KEY MATCH-UP
The Tiger-Cats Secondary vs. Jamel Richardson and S.J. Green
The Montreal Alouettes have a lot of weapons on offence. Richardson and Green, the Alouettes slot backs, might just be the deadliest of the bunch. The 6’3″ Richardson (last year’s Grey Cup MVP) and the 6’2″ Green are large targets for the accurate Calvillo. They use their size, speed and route running abilities to their advantage, preying on some of the CFL’s premier defensive backs week in and week out. Richardson and Green have a combined 588 yards and four touchdowns coming into Friday’s game and it will be the task of the Tiger-Cats secondary to slow them down. Montreal is known for switching up their formations and moving their receivers around to capitalize on match ups, so it will take a full team effort to defend these Alouettes pass catchers. The Tiger-Cats will call on Bo Smith, who has two interceptions on the season, Carlos Thomas and Jason Shivers to shadow Richardson and Green. This match up hinges on whether or not Hamilton’s secondary can bring this dynamic duo down to earth, eliminating the deep ball and standing strong on second and long situations, because even the best offences can’t score points when they’re on the sidelines.  

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