Game Day: Ticats at Stampeders

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Dave Stala celebrates his touchdown against the Montreal...

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Dave Stala celebrates his touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during the first half of their CFL football game in Hamilton July 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:19 PM ET

Bill Lankhof sets up Saturday night's game in Calgary between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and host Stampeders:

HAMILTON AT CALGARY

9:30 p.m., McMahon Stadium

TV: TSN; RADIO: TSN 1050 AM

THREE THINGS TO LOOK FOR:

They’ve got it covered

1. The Tiger-Cats’ cover team has three players — Nathan Kanya, Mark Beswick and Dan Francis — all among the league’s top 10 in special teams tackles. Kanya is elusive and difficult to block, using his knees and balance. Beswick and Kanya both have six tackles. It sets up an interesting confrontation with the traditionally elusive Larry Taylor who has averaged only 5.7 yards on nine punt returns in his last three games.

A soft spot?

2. The Stampeders will be without middle linebacker Juwan Simpson for the second consecutive week. Robert McCune, a former NFL linebacker, moved from his usual defensive end spot and led the team with five tackles in last week’s 22-18 win over Saskatchewan. Of course, in that game he didn’t have to chase Avon Cobourne all over the field. This may be one spot the Ticats test for any vulnerability.

Old acquaintances

3. Cornerback Geoff Tisdale, after three seasons with the Tiger-Cats, is getting comfortable in his new surroundings after signing with the Stamps as a free agent. Through five regular-season games with Calgary, Tisdale has a pair of interceptions and 10 defensive tackles. This game could well come down to a battle of wits and will between Hamilton’s whiz-kid receivers and the former Ticat. “It’s been a nice smooth ride for me so far,” Tisdale said this week.

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Kevin Glenn

After surviving a couple of tumultuous seasons in The Hammer Glenn is emerging as one of the league’s elite quarterbacks. His efficiency rating ranks behind only Ricky Ray and Anthony Calvillo at 93.7%. Last week he out-played Calvillo. After throwing four interceptions with two touchdowns his first two games, Glenn has been on a torrid three-game stretch during which he is 60-for-98 with 832 yards, no interceptions, seven TDs and a 112.3 efficiency rating.

Larry Taylor

The thing about Larry Taylor is that he’s so consistent. He’s averaging 25.5 yards on 13 kickoff returns this season and his 641 total combined yards rank third in the CFL. He also averages 10 yards per punt return for his career. Even kicking away from him doesn’t work with Landan Talley, his sidekick, getting 150 yards against B.C. last week on six kickoff returns. So, it’s sort of a pick your poison situation.

TURF BITS

* Joffrey Reynolds needs just 25 yards to hit the 9,000 mark. In 2010 he averaged 12

carries per game, this year with the development of Jon Cornish, Reynolds has averaged nine carries.

* Punter Burke Dales continues to lead the CFL with a 45.2-yard average.

* Henry Burris needs 93 yards to pass Tom Clements (39,041) and move into eighth spot all-time in CFL passing.

* It could be over early. Hamilton is the CFL’s best first quarter team with a 40-20 edge. The Stampeders, meantime, have been slow starters, scoring just 11 first quarter points in five games.

* Close calls; all five of Calgary’s games have ended with five or fewer points separating the teams. The total difference in the five games was 13 points.

* Ticats Justin Hickman has three quarterback sacks during Hamilton’s three-game winning streak.

INJURY IMPACT

The Tiger-Cats lost veteran linebacker and special teams ace Yannick Carter in B.C. game. This week defensive back Carlos Thomas missed practice time, as did receiver Matt Carter, and neither are expected to play. Maurice Mann may return as early as next week from a cut on his foot.

The Stampeders are being cautious with Ken Yon Rambo and he will sit out to rest a nagging Achilles heel injury. Sophomore Landan Talley takes his place. Middle linebacker Juwan Simpson, the West Division’s nominee for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player award last season, remains sidelined with a knee injury.


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