Ticats-Stampeders Gameday

Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end Stevie Baggs celebrates after stopping the Montreal Alouettes...

Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end Stevie Baggs celebrates after stopping the Montreal Alouettes inside the one yard line during the first half of their CFL football game in Hamilton September 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:11 PM ET

Calgary Stampeders 7-4 at Hamilton Tiger-Cats 5-6

SUNDAY, 1 P.M., MONCTON STADIUM; TSN, CHML 900 AM

WATCH THAT GUY

Stevie Baggs, Hamilton

After having one of his best games on Labour Day, Baggs (and the rest of the defensive line) failed to get any pressure on Anthony Calvillo and Ricky Ray in the past two weeks. Baggs said the lack of pressure in the Edmonton game often came down to missed assignments or simply blown plays. There has been speculation Baggs isn’t being used to his strengths. He has 34 tackles and four sacks. Not bad, unless your name is Baggs and sacking the quarterback is how you have made your reputation.

Henry Burris, Calgary

The Calgary offence hasn’t been as dominant as it has been, but its still pretty good. And, so is Burris, now in his ninth campaign — over two tenures — as the Stamps quarterback. His 315 yards rushing is second among CFL quarterbacks, two behind Saskatchewan’s Darian Durant. That put him ninth in the league in rushing going into the weekend so there’s nothing wrong with the legs. He has also completed 232 passes, more than any other quarterback not named Calvillo.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. Lines in the sand

The Ticats were outscored 81-36 in losses to Edmonton and Montreal and have to re-establish some dominance in the play of both their offensive and defensive lines. Early in the season, the Ticats were getting pressure on the QB but haven’t lately and, with an already wonky secondary, the consequences have been predictably awful.

2. Where’s Joffrey?

For only the second time since the 2004 season, when he sat out the finale, Joffrey Reynolds will not be the Stampeders’ starter at running back. Reynolds had just 15 yards on seven carries in the last game and has not been as dominant as in the past. Four times last week, Reynolds was given the ball with less than five yards to make a first down, and the plays all failed. The franchise’s career rushing leader is averging 4.8 yards per carry, which isn’t even the best on his team. Jon Cornish is at 6.3 yards.

3. Finding traction

The game will be played on grass at the University of Moncton and the team that adapts the best will have a big advantage. All CFL fields are artificial turf so many players haven’t been on natural grass for quite a while. “The defence is not as quick off the ball. Guys will slip when they go to push off and that has a profound impact on the rush,” Ticats’ lineman Jason Jimenez said.

TURF BITS

-- This is a homecoming for Stampeders’ Justin Conn, 23. The linebacker is from New Maryland, just minutes outside Moncton. Conn was named Fredericton High School’s athlete of the year in 2005.

-- Ticats are making some changes after two losses. Marcus Thigpen, primarily used as a kick returner this season, moves into the starting lineup as a wide receiver in place of Aaron Kelly. Avon Cobourne remains the starter at tailback but look for Terry Grant to get some action. On defence, Marcell Young goes to a DHB slot with Bo Smith switching to corner. Darius Powell will get some plays at DE.

-- While there have been turnouts into the hundreds for practice and numerous public appearances by players, precisely how popular Touchdown Atlantic has become will be seen at game time. The stadium seats 20,000 people and officials are hoping for a sellout.

-- Henry Burris has gone lobster crazy. Since arriving in New Brunswick, he’s had lobster bisque, lobster benedict for breakfast and au gratin for dinner. Meanwhile, teammate Anthony Parker is trying to find a decent steak. Or even a chunk of tofu on which to gnaw. The guy is allergic to seafood. “I have to be careful. Even coming into the airport, they had fish waiting for us,” Parker said.

INJURY IMPACT

The Stamps will be without returner Larry Taylor (rib), which is why rookie LaMarcus Coker is activated. He gives them more special teams options ... B.C.’s Khalif Mitchell rolled on to Henry Burris’ ankle last week. But the Stamps QB, along with DE Charleston Hughes, SB Jabari Arthur and LB Brandon Isaac all took part in practices and are expected to play.

Hamilton’s big hole will be at centre where Marwan Hage misses a third consecutive game.


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