Thursday Night Football features the Calgary Stampeders visiting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with the winner moving into sole possession of first-place in the West Division. Calgary enters the game having won three straight. After opening the year 5-0, the Blue Bombers find themselves on a two-game skid following a road trip through Southern Ontario. Winnipeg is returning to the friendly confines of IG Field where they are 3-0 this season. Kickoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET and Canadian rock duo Crown Lands will perform at halftime.
Friday Night Football features a double-header. First, Saskatchewan will head to Montreal at 7 p.m. ET with the visitors chasing their fourth win in a row. The Alouettes will be looking to get back into the win column following last week’s 30-27 overtime loss against Ottawa.
At 10 p.m. ET, Edmonton will play host to Ottawa, marking the first game in which a pair of Esks – Trevor Harris and Greg Ellingson – face the team they left in free agency. Ottawa is hoping to return to .500, while Edmonton is looking to improve upon its 3-0 home record this season.
The 2019 Hall of Fame game will conclude the week on Saturday with BC taking on Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The Lions are coming off a bye week and will be in search of their second victory. This season, teams coming off a bye are 5-4. At 5-2, Hamilton holds first place in the East Division and is coming off a last-minute loss to Saskatchewan last week. Dane Evans will be making his third-career start as Hamilton looks to remain perfect at home.
ESPN2 will broadcast the Ottawa/Edmonton game.
ESPN+ will air Calgary/Winnipeg, Saskatchewan/Montreal and BC/Hamilton game this week.
TSN’s Live Mic Game will be Saskatchewan/Montreal game this week.
HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
· Saturday’s game between the BC Lions and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be the 2019 Hall of Fame Game following the induction ceremony on Friday night at Tim Hortons Field.
· This year features seven inductees: Jon Cornish, Mervyn Fernandez, Terry Greer, Ernie Pitts (posthumous) and David Williams in the Player category, and former Saskatchewan club president Jim Hopson and legendary University of British Columbia coach Frank Smith in the Builder category.
· For bios of each inductee, click here.
CALGARY THROUGH SEVEN
· This will be the first time since August 20, 1982 that Winnipeg and Calgary will play for sole possession of first in the West Division.
· After starting 2-2, the Stampeders now sit tied for first in the West Division with a 5-2 record.
· Despite two-time MOP, Bo Levi Mitchell, only playing two games thus far, Kamar Jordan playing none and the loss of Alex Singleton, the Stampeders continue to find ways to win.
· Calgary’s record through seven games over the past nine years:
o 2019 | 5-2 | Started 2-2
o 2018 | 7-0 | Grey Cup champion
o 2017 | 5-1-1 | West Division champion
o 2016 | 5-1-1 | West Division champion
o 2015 | 5-2 | West Division finalist
o 2014 | 6-1 | Grey Cup champion
o 2013 | 5-2 | West Division finalist
o 2012 | 3-4 | West Division champion
o 2011 | 6-1 | West Division Semi-finalist
O-LINE SCORING TDs
· In the Argonauts’ Week 8 win over the Blue Bombers, Jamal Campbell caught a one-yard touchdown from McLeod Bethel-Thompson. It marked the first reception and touchdown for the local Toronto native.
· Campbell became the fifth offensive linemen since 2014 to score a TD, with Ryan Bomben having tallied two:
o Sept. 3, 2018: Ryan Bomben (TOR) – 3-yard sliding catch
o July 16, 2016: Jovan Olafioye (BC) – 8-yard touchdown
o Aug. 9, 2015: Ryan Bomben (HAM) – 8-yard touchdown
o Aug. 24, 2014: Dan Clark (SSK) – 1-yard touchdown
o June 28, 2014: T-Dre Player (BC) – 3-yard touchdown
WILD WEEK 8
· At a glance:
o All four games were decided in the final three minutes
o Average margin of victory: three points
o Lead changes: eight
o Average points per game: 49
o Kick return TDs: three
· Two of the four games were won on fourth quarter, game-winning drives: McLeod Bethel-Thompson (TOR) and Cody Fajardo (SSK).
· Winnipeg’s loss to Toronto after being ahead 20-0 matched the largest blown-lead in team history. It was the 6th largest comeback win in Argonauts history. Toronto led for only the final 10 seconds in the game; Winnipeg led for a total of 57:41.
· The Ottawa/Montreal game featured the first overtime game of the season. There were two last season, five in 2017 and a record eight in 2016.
· Ottawa’s comeback victory broke a four-game losing streak – the team’s first since its expansion year (2014).
BIG PLAY DATA THROUGH 8 WEEKS
· 20+ yard rushes – 33
· 30+ yard passes – 76
· 30+ yard punt returns – 21
· 40+ yard kickoff returns – 16
· 30+ yard field goal returns – 4
· Total of 150 big plays so far this season (4.8 per game)
· Winning teams have 96 big plays; 54 for losing teams
· CFL rushing leader Andrew Harris (656) surprisingly scored his first two rushing TDs of the season last week against Toronto. His 152 rushing yards were a season-high (107 came before halftime) and the performance marked his 24th career 100+ yard rushing game. In the previous 10 games going back to last season, Harris did not tally a rushing touchdown.
· Home team advantage: Home teams have won 20-of-31 games this season (.645) and three are still undefeated: Hamilton (4-0), Edmonton (3-0) and Winnipeg (3-0). Each plays at home this week.
· Road teams are 11-for-31 (.355) and the best two teams are Calgary (2-1) and Ottawa (2-1). Toronto is the only team without a road victory.
· Cody Fajardo, who was a number-two quarterback to begin the season, leads the CFL in completion percentage (74.6%), passer rating (108.1) and with 13 completions of 30+ yards this season. He has led 20 Saskatchewan scoring drives in his six starts.
· BC Lions head coach DeVone Claybrooks is still a perfect 8-for-8 on Coaches’ Challenges this year. His former boss, Dave Dickenson, and Rick Campbell are each 0-for-2.
· Argonauts quarterback, McLeod Bethel-Thompson leads the league with four 300+ passing yard games this season. Trevor Harris, Cody Fajardo, Mike Reilly and Jeremiah Masoli each have three.
· Solomon Elimimian is No. 7 with 768 career defensive tackles. He needs 33 to tie Eddie Davis (801) for 6th all-time.
· Mike Miller is sits No. 7 all-time with 173 special team tackles. He needs one more to tie Roger Reinson (174).
· Charleston Hughes had two sacks last week putting him in double-digits for a fifth consecutive year and for the seventh time in his career. He needs two more sacks to tie Stewart Hill (126) for 8th all-time. He is on pace for 26 sacks this season.
· Last week, SJ Green had his first 100-yard game of the season. It was the 28th time he has hit the mark in his career and the effort moved him up to No. 24 all-time with 9,549 yards. He is 71-yards away from surpassing Jock Clime (9619) for 23rd all-time.
· Riders’ receiver Shaq Evans continues to put up huge numbers. Last week he recorded seven receptions for 160 yards. This season, he tops the league in average yards per reception (20.2) and in the number of 100+ yard games (four). The last time a player averaged more than 20-yards per reception in a season was Kelly Campbell in 2008 (22.6).
· Ottawa’s DeVonte Dedmon is now second in the league in combined yards after tallying a franchise-record 382 total kick return yards against Montreal in Week 8. It was the second-most in a single game, trailing only Larry Taylor (428 yds for CGY at TOR on July 7, 2012).
· William Stanback has accumulated at least 84 yards from scrimmage in each of the Alouette’s games this year. He has accounted for 33% of the team’s yards from scrimmage.
· Following a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week, Terry Williams now has four kick return TDs in his career (3 Punt Returns, 1 Kickoff Return).
· QB Trevor Harris is on pace for 5,945 passing yards this season which would be a new career-high. He has a 5:1 TD to INT ratio (10 TDs, 2 INTs) and his interception percentage of 0.7% is the lowest in CFL history. He has only been sacked twice this season.
· Ricky Collins currently leads the league in receiving yards (615) and yards after catch (286).
· Justin Medlock has nailed 85 converts from 32 yards out – a CFL Record. He leads the league with six punts inside the 10-yard line.
· BC is coming off a bye week for the first time this season. Since 2015, they are 2-5 following a bye.