The trio of matchups on Mark’s Labour Day Weekend will kick off the second half of the CFL season and set the league on the path to the Grey Cup playoffs.
Sunday will see the Blue Bombers travel to Mosaic Stadium for the 56th meeting between the two teams in Regina over the holiday weekend. Winnipeg will look to extend its lead atop the West Division despite missing key cogs in Matt Nichols and Andrew Harris, while the Roughriders are winners of five straight for the first time since 2014. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET.
The holiday Monday doubleheader opens with Toronto traveling west on the 401 to Tim Hortons Field beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The East Division-leading hosts enter the game with eight wins – the most they’ve accumulated heading into Labour Day – and will be attempting to remain perfect at home. The Argonauts are hoping to bounce back from a narrow 28-22 setback in last week’s Touchdown Atlantic in Moncton.
Week 12 comes to a close with the season’s second Battle of Alberta at McMahon Stadium with kickoff slated for 4:30 p.m. ET. Calgary is in search of its eighth consecutive victory in the holiday matchup, while the Eskimos will attempt to square the season series following a Week 8, 24-18 loss against their provincial rivals. Both teams are coming off losses in their previous contests and Edmonton is a game up on Calgary in the standings.
LDC SPOTLIGHT: WINNIPEG AT SASKATCHEWAN
(SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 – 3 P.M. ET)
· This will be the teams’ 56th meeting in the holiday series with the Roughriders holding a 36-19 advantage.
· This is the first time since 1954 that the two teams will head into the LDC ranked first and second in the West Division standings.
· The two teams have combined for 14 wins – the highest total between the two teams heading into the game (Winnipeg – 8 and Saskatchewan – 6).
· Saskatchewan has taken 13 of the past 14 editions of the LDC.
· Winnipeg last won (28-25) in 2016.
· Mike O’Shea is 1-4 as a Head Coach in the LDC.
· Quarterbacks Cody Fajardo and Chris Strevler will be making their starting debuts in the historic series.
· This will be the fifth consecutive year that the Roughriders will start a different quarterback in the LDC:
o 2015 – Brett Smith
o 2016 – Darian Durant
o 2017 – Kevin Glenn
o 2018 – Zach Collaros
o 2019 – Cody Fajardo
· For the 30th time in the series, Winnipeg will enter the LDC with a better record than Saskatchewan.
· This will be the first time that either team has come into the LDC with eight-or-more wins. It will be the fifth time that Winnipeg has entered the matchup with seven-or-more (1984, 2003, 2011, 2017).
· Of the 55 LDC contests between the two teams, 30 were decided in the final three minutes.
· In four career LDCs (all with the Roughriders), Naaman Roosevelt has 22 receptions for 319 yards and a touchdown.
· In their 55 LDC matchups, the team with the better record going into the game is 30-15.
LDC SPOTLIGHT: TORONTO AT HAMILTON
(MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 – 1 P.M. ET)
· This will be the 49th edition of the East Division LDC.
· Hamilton holds a firm grip on the series with a record of 34-13-1.
· Hamilton has won seven of the previous eight LDCs with Toronto last winning on September 3, 2012.
· The Tiger-Cats have yet to lose an LDC at Tim Hortons Field and their five-game winning streak is the most in the series (the teams did not play in 2013).
· Five of the last six LDC games between Hamilton and Toronto were decided in the final three minutes.
· In 16 of the 17 LDCs since 2002, the team that won the fourth quarter went on to win the game. The lone exception came in 2017 – Toronto took the fourth 8-7, but Hamilton emerged with a 24-22 victory.
· This will be the second meeting between the two teams this year; In Week 2, Hamilton won 64-14 at BMO Field.
· Of the 48 LDCs between Hamilton and Toronto, 25 have been decided in the final three minutes.
· This will be Dane Evans’ first start in the Labour Day Classic and McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s second.
· In four career Labour Day games with the Ticats, Luke Tasker has recorded 29 catches, 447 yards and three touchdowns.
LDC SPOTLIGHT: EDMONTON AT CALGARY
(MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 – 4:30 P.M. ET)
· This will be the 59th LDC played by the provincial rivals. Calgary is hosting it for the 55th time.
· Edmonton holds a slim 29-28-1 edge in the series.
· Calgary has won seven straight LDC matchups, equalling the longest streak between the two foes set by Edmonton from 1950-1961 (games were played in: 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1959, 1960 and 1961).
· Calgary enters the game with five wins – its lowest since 2012. The Stampeders’ record heading into Labour Day over that span:
o 2018: 8-1
o 2017: 7-1-1
o 2016: 7-1-1
o 2015: 7-2
o 2014: 7-1
o 2013: 6-2
o 2012: 4-4
· Both teams head-to-head in their last five games have alternated winning. None of the games have been decided by nine points or less. In Week 8 Calgary beat Edmonton 24-18.
· Trevor Harris has not started and won a game against Calgary however he has two ties – 0-7-2. Calgary is the only team he has not beaten as a starter. If you remove Calgary’s record, Harris is 37-23.
· With Bo Levi Mitchell’s status still uncertain, this could be the first time since 2012 that neither he nor Mike Reilly will start in the game.
· Dave Dickenson’s LDC record is a perfect 3-0 while Jason Maas is 0-3.
· With Bo Levi Mitchell’s status still uncertain, McLeod Bethel-Thompson could be the only QB who has started in the LDC with his current team
o Chris Strevler – First LDC start
o Cody Fajardo – First LDC start
o Nick Arbuckle – Potential first LDC start
o Trevor Harris – Second LDC start, but first in the battle of Alberta
o Dane Evans – First LDC start
o McLeod Bethel Thompson – Second LDC start (0-1)
· Trevor Harris leads the league in 300+ passing yard games (six). He comes into this week with four consecutive 300+ passing yards efforts, averaging 388 yards.
· Saskatchewan is in search of its sixth-straight win. The last time they managed the feat was in 2014, when they went on to win seven-in-a-row.
· Toronto’s Bethel-Thompson passed for a CFL season-high and career-high 464 yards in Moncton last week. He is now third in the league in passing yards despite only starting in seven games this season. He has 7 TD passes and 0 INTs in his past three games. He has not thrown an interception in his last 127 pass attempts.
· Edmonton’s DaVaris Daniels recorded the first 200+ yard receiving game of the season last week (August 23 – 10 receptions for 207 yards). It was the first 200+ receiving yard game by a CFL receiver in nearly a year – Kamar Jordan had 249 yards on August 25, 2018. It was also the first time an Esks’ receiver had hit the mark since 2015 (Adarius Bowman with 208).
· The Argos’ Rodney Smith entered last week with 13 catches in four games -- he nearly doubled his output with 12 catches in Moncton. He made a reception on all his targets in the game and his 12 catches in a game were a CFL season-high.
· Winnipeg’s Chris Strevler led all players last week with 95 rushing yards.
· The Ticats’ Dylan Wynn has a streak of four straight games with a sack and six over that span. The team owns a record of 3-1 in those games.
· Willie Jefferson leads the league with five forced fumbles. Last week, he recorded six different types of defensive plays: four tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a pass knockdown and two tackles for a loss. He also notched a kickoff return for good measure when he secured the onside kick possession.
· Last week, Mike O’Shea reached 100 games as a head coach with a record of 53-47.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
This Week In The CFL