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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

CFL WEEK 1 - THE POINT AFTER

Photo: Riderville.com
A recurring theme has already returned after just one week of the 2018 CFL regular season.

The West Division emerged with a 3-0 record versus their Eastern rivals. The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Toronto Argonauts 27-19 on Friday night before the Calgary Stampeders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 28-14 and B.C. Lions got past the Montreal Alouettes 22-10, both Saturday night.

Last year, the West Division held a commanding 29-10-1 record versus the East Division. The Edmonton Eskimos led the way with a 7-1 mark while Calgary was 6-1-1.

Both Winnipeg and Saskatchewan were 6-2 while B.C. posted a 4-4 record.

The Ottawa Redblacks had the best record versus the West Division at 3-6-1. Toronto was 3-7 while both Hamilton and Montreal were 2-8.

Now, that's hardly a surprise given the West has been the dominant division for over a decade and since 2000 its teams have won 11 Grey Cups. But Ottawa and Toronto have captured the last two CFL championship games over Calgary.

The Redblacks will look to be the first East team to secure a victory over the West when they host Saskatchewan in their season opener Thursday night.

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WINNING DEBUT: It wasn't a record-setting debut for Zach Collaros.

The veteran quarterback was a tidy 18-of-25 passing for 203 yards and a TD in the Saskatchewan Roughriders 27-19 home win over the Toronto Argonauts. It was Collaros's first game with the Riders after being acquired from Hamilton this off-season.

Collaros ended his tenure in Hamilton losing his final 12 starts, one short of the CFL record. The former Cincinnati star had almost as many TD passes (eight) as interceptions (seven) before being replaced by Jeremiah Masoli.

After Hamilton's 0-8 start to the season, it finished 6-4 with Masoli under centre.

Rush end Charleston Hughes enjoyed a banner Riders debut. He registered three sacks against Toronto.

That gives Hughes 102 career sacks, moving him to within three of Rodney Harding for 10th spot all-time. Hughes becomes the 11th player in league history to reach the 100-sack plateau.

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MITCHELL DOMINANT: History won't be on Toronto's side Saturday night.

The Argos host Calgary at BMO Field in their home opener. But Stampeders' starter Bo Levi Mitchell boasts an 8-0 regular-season record against Toronto.

The 28-year-old native of Katy, Texas, is a stellar 57-10-2 overall as a CFL starter and was named the MVP of Calgary's 20-16 Grey Cup win over Hamilton in 2014. But the Stampeders have dropped the last two league championship games against Ottawa and Toronto, respectively.

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MANZIEL WATCH: Johnny Football didn't see any action in Hamilton's season-opening 28-14 road loss to the Calgary Stampeders.

Ticats starter Jeremiah Masoli went the distance, completing 25-of-36 passes for 344 yards and an interception while rushing twice for 12 yards and a TD. Masoli will return under centre Friday night when Hamilton visits the Edmonton Eskimos.

Manziel, 25, made headlines across North America when he signed a two-year deal with Hamilton the day before the start of training camp. The six-foot, 210-pound Texan became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy as U.S. college football's top player in 2012 and two years later was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns.

But Cleveland released Manziel after two tumultuous seasons. He played in 14 games and posted a 2-6 in eight career starts, completing 147-of-258 passes (57 per cent) for 1,675 yards with seven TDs and seven interceptions. Manziel also ran 46 times for 259 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and one touchdown.

Manziel came off the bench in both of Hamilton's exhibition games, completing 21-of-32 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown with 29 yards rushing on six carries.

Manziel is the sixth Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to play in the CFL, joining Terry Baker, Eric Crouch, Doug Flutie, Andre Ware and Troy Smith.

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RECORD PURSUIT: The two players expected to chase becoming the first player in CFL history to register 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a season had differing starts to the '18 campaign.

Toronto running back James Wilder Jr., ran for 16 yards on five carries in the Argos' season-opening 27-19 road loss to Saskatchewan. The CFL's top rookie last year did have four catches for 68 yards.

Winnipeg's Andrew Harris, who just missed recording the historic double last year, had 77 yards rushing on 14 carries in the Bombers' 33-30 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. The CFL's top Canadian last season added three catches for six yards.

Last year, Harris ran for a CFL-best 1,035 yards while adding 105 catches - most ever by a running back - for 857 yards.

To achieve the milestone, a player would need to average 56 yards rushing and receiving over 18 regular-season games.

The six-foot-three, 227-pound Wilder ran for 872 yards (7.2-yard average) and five TDs while adding 51 catches for 533 yards in 10 starts. Wilder began 2017 with Toronto playing primarily special teams.

THIS 'N THAT: Winnipeg added veteran quarterback Mitchell Gale to its practice roster Monday. Gale has spent time over five CFL seasons with Toronto, Hamilton, Saskatchewan, Calgary and B.C. The Bombers lost starter Matt Nichols (knee) during training camp and backup Alex Ross was injured in the club's 33-30 loss to Edmonton on Thursday night. With Nichols sidelined, rookie Chris Streveler started against the Eskimos ... According to the CFL, 323 players returned to their '17 team this season (65.5 per cent). Toronto led with 48 returnees from last year's Grey Cup-winning squad. B.C. (24) had the fewest. Montreal had the most first-year CFL players on its opening-day roster (18) while the Argos had the fewest (two).

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The east division sucks again for sure, their only accomplishments of late are winning the Grey Cup. LA DE DA!

Anonymous said...

The "recurring theme" in most sports is that the home team wins most of the time. This past weekend the home teams were 3-1. Not sure if it is an West-East thing yet, since no east teams were playing at home.
LF

Anonymous said...

Not one mention on this blog about the WWCFL Conference Final or Championship game this weekend in Regina.

Rod Pedersen said...

Didn’t receive a shred of info on it.


Anonymous said...

Rod is not responsible for chasing teams for news. Get a volunteer to put together press releases. I'm sure Rod will post.