Valuable points at stake in Hamilton

We are only a third into the Canadian Football League season, but already, the two points at stake Thursday night in Hamilton have great value in the eyes of Alouettes head coach Danny Maciocia.

Valuable points at stake in Hamilton

We are only a third into the Canadian Football League season, but already, the two points at stake Thursday night in Hamilton have great value in the eyes of Alouettes head coach Danny Maciocia. .

• Read also: Alouettes: Dominique Davis as second

The interim driver is keen to build on last week's win over the Ottawa Redblacks, but he also recognizes that games against section rivals will be particularly important between now and the end of the campaign.

Is this duel against the Tiger-Cats one of those famous "four-point games" for the Alouettes, against opponents who are only two points behind them in the standings?

"It's an opportunity to start a winning streak first," Maciocia said. We have a great opportunity to get a second one. And the good news is that it's against an opponent in our section. So that adds to the value of those two points. »

Better than their record

Yes, the opportunity is good for the Alouettes. Because if the team does not show the expected performance this year, with its record of two wins against four losses, "good" for second place, the Tiger-Cats are even worse.

In six games, Orlando Steinauer's men show a sad record of 1-5. They are third in this East section where only the Toronto Argonauts have a positive record (3-2).

Maciocia also says he is surprised to see his rivals struggling so much.

"They're better than their record suggests," he points out. I think that's the case with a lot of teams in the East, including Ottawa [0-6] who, like us, lost close games. »

“The Tiger-Cats are a talented team, which, unfortunately, lacks opportunism during its games, adds the coach. I expect them to be tough opponents and it will be a physical matchup. »

Penalties and turnovers

This will be the first meeting between the Alouettes and the Tiger-Cats since last year's Eastern semi-final, during which Montreal suffered a 23-12 loss.

As if it were a premise of one of their main problems this year, the "Sparrows" were guilty of 15 penalties in the game.

They had also suffered five turnovers. Two pitfalls, underlines Maciocia, that the Alouettes will "absolutely" have to avoid against a formation as "physical" as the Tiger-Cats.

"They are built to impose themselves physically," he notes. They have good players on the defensive line and on the offensive line. And when they play in front of their fans, it's a very hostile environment. »

reunion evening

Fired three weeks ago, former head coach Khari Jones will already return to the Alouettes on Thursday night, he who has since been hired as a consultant by Hamilton.

To local media, the Tiger-Cats driver said that he will not be able to rely too much on Jones' expertise against Montreal.

"It's a new regime, so we only have a small taste [of what they will do]," Steinauer pointed out.

The Tiger-Cats will also be counting on the return of receiver Lemar Durant and running back Cariel Brooks, who were on the sidelines since training camp.

As for the Alouettes, they announced on Wednesday that the name of Vernon Adams Jr. had been placed on the injured list for the game in Hamilton.

Trevor Harris is wary of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defense, and he's not the only one: for the Alouettes, the main order of Thursday night's game will be to protect the starting quarterback.

The veteran was the spark plug for Montreal last Thursday in the 40-33 win over the Rouge et Noir in Ottawa. The American completed 80% of the passes he attempted (25 of 31), for gains of 341 yards and two touchdown passes.

These statistics earned him the title of MVP of the last week in the Canadian League.

"But the Tiger-Cats are a whole different challenge," Harris said after practice earlier in the week. Their defensive line is aggressive and they have a lot of good players in this position. »

Six bags in November

Recognized for his arms more than for his legs, the quarterback had also tasted the medicine of Hamilton during the Eastern semi-final last November, at Tim Hortons stadium, lost by the Alouettes on account of 23 to 12.

Thanks to pressure from the Tiger-Cats defensive front, Harris had been hit with six sacks. Two of them had allowed locals to add points to the scoreboard.

"The line of scrimmage will be important [Thursday night]," interim head coach Danny Maciocia said. We must protect Trevor Harris! If we are able to do it, it will increase our chances of going for the victory. »

A long evening?

Although the quarterback had often been left to his own devices during this game, he still managed 28 of his 44 pass attempts (63%) and one touchdown. Figures more than honorable in the circumstances.

Seeking to vary the strategies, the Edinboro University product had also distributed the ball to seven different receivers.

Maciocia believes that the protection that will be offered to his starter will again be the difference between a victory and a defeat on Thursday night. "If he's well protected, he's going to be able to distribute the ball to his receivers who, in turn, will be able to make plays," he said, adding, "Without that protection, this will be a long evening for us. »

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