CFL.ca Staff With files from Steve Daniel, Head Statistician
TORONTO — The stretch drive to Labour Day Weekend is officially on.
With just three weeks separating us from arguably the most exciting week on the CFL’s regular season calendar, you can be sure that certain teams will be doing whatever they can to establish themselves in their respective divisions…especially the squads involved in Week 7’s first matchup.
On Thursday night, two prairie rivals will butt heads under the lights, as the Bombers and Roughriders meet with plenty more than pride on the line.
Friday Night Football kicks off with Mike Reilly and the Eskimos visiting Brandon Whitaker and the Alouettes, while Andrew Harris and the Lions welcome CJ Gable and the Tiger-Cats to cap off the double header just a few hours later.
Finally, the week comes to a close on Saturday night, with the REDBLACKS travelling to Calgary to face the Stampeders at McMahon Stadium.
Equipped with the most up-to-date storylines, roster moves, stats, milestones and trends, enjoy this week’s CFL.ca Game Notes.
One for the Ages: The CFL’s game-by-game scoring records are complete back to 1936, and we have documented 13 occasions that a player recovered his own team’s kick and scored a touchdown on that play. Last week, Ottawa’s Dobson Collins was onside behind Thomas DeMarco who punted into the Saskatchewan end zone. Collins raced downfield and recovered the loose ball for a touchdown. It was the first such onside recovery since July 22, 1999 at McMahon Stadium vs. Edmonton when Scott McKenzie recovered his own punt and ran 40 yards for a score. Before that, Dick Adams of Ottawa did the same on September 12, 1973 with that one being an 80-yard advance of the ball. The unique aspect of Collins’ feat was that he wasn’t the punter on the play. It has been 48 years since the last time a player performed that feat. Edmonton’s Joe Hernandez recovered a first down Randy Kerbow punt on October 16, 1966 after Winnipeg’s Barrie Hansen allowed the ball to bounce; Hernandez advanced the ball 35 yards for the score to end the third quarter.
History: This week’s first game matches two clubs coming off big wins. In fact, it is the first time since 2007 that Saskatchewan and Winnipeg are meeting having BOTH won their previous game. The Riders have won 10 of the last 12 meetings and 15 of the last 19. This rivalry is among the league’s oldest dating back to the formation of today’s West Division (WIFU) in 1936. The first meeting came on September 12, 1936 (Regina 8, Winnipeg 7). This week marks regular season meeting 230.
Kick return TDs: With Tristan Jackson’s 111-yard missed FG return score last week, the CFL is up to four return TDs this year. That is on pace for 13 and consistent with the 12 in 2013 and the 14 TDs in 2012.
Run, Larry, Run! : Larry Taylor reached #7 all-time in the CFL for total kick return yards (KO: 5,080; Punt: 3,105; FG Miss: 1,015) with 9,300. Here’s how he stands including Chad Owens who is still active but sidelined this week with injury:
1. Henry Williams 20,257 2. Michael Clemons 13,082 3. Marvin Coleman 11,545 4. Jason Armstead 10,279 5. Winston October 9,511 6. Chad Owens 9,413 7. Larry Taylor 9,300
Lack of 2-point converts: Through the first six weeks, clubs have scored 107 touchdowns and elected to try a one-point conversion 100 times (99 made). On the 7 two-point convert attempts, NONE have been successful.
Got LeFevour?: Dan LeFevour is the only CFL quarterback that currently leads his team in rushing in 2014 – he has 169 yards on 33 rushes.
The Offensive Taylor: Courtney Taylor has 20 catches for 195 yards in the last three games, the most receptions by any CFL player over that span. Of those 20 catches, NINE of those have been on second or first down. He leads the CFL with 12 of those heading into Week 7. Teammate Emmanuel Arceneaux is right behind with nine clutch catches.
Brandon the Runner: Over the last two games Brandon Whitaker has gained 105 of the club’s 240 net yards (44%). The Als’ starting tailback is having a strong season and ranks third in the CFL in rushing with 299 yards. He’s also fourth in yards from scrimmage at 368. He has had at least 11 carries in each game and 50+ rushing yards in four of the five contests.
At 4-1 in 2014: The Eskimos dropped their last game to fall to 4-1, but remain well ahead of their pace from one year ago. Last year after five games they were 1-4 and started 1-9 overall. The loss to Calgary stopped a five-game winning streak dating back to the end of 2013, their longest since the start of 2011.
He’s Reilly good: Mike Reilly has reached 25 career starts, winning nine of them. Only five active CFL QBs have more than that. He is 4-1 this season and overall with Edmonton is at 8-15. Against Montreal, Reilly is 0-2 with 456 yards, 3 Interceptions and 2 TD passes in two starts.
Ricky Ray (49,155): Needs 845 yards to reach 50,000 career passing yards, a level reached by only four CFL QBs.
Kevin Glenn (40,808): Needs 548 passing yards to pass Doug Flutie (41,355) and move into 8th spot all-time. Last week, Kevin passed Tracy Ham for #9 all-time.
Henry Burris (328): Needs just 6 TD passes to go beyond Ron Lancaster (333) and move up to #3 all-time. He also needs just 629 yards to go past Danny McManus (53,255) into #3 all-time in yards. Burris has 52,627 heading into this week.
Paul McCallum (2,916): Needs 17 points to surpass Paul Osbaldiston (2,932) for #3 all-time. Paul is 11 field goals away from becoming #2 all-time behind Lui Passaglia (875). Paul’s 663 total is 10 back of Mark McLoughlin (673).
Sean Whyte (684): Needs 16 points to become the 32nd player in CFL history to reach 700 career points.
Nik Lewis (10,899): Needs 101 receiving yards to reach 11,000 for his career.
Starting in Winnipeg, the Bombers released their depth chart on Wednesday, and it was revealed that second overall CFL Draft pick Matthias Goossen will make his first career start at right guard. The Bombers will also welcome slotback Cory Watson back into the lineup. He’s been out since Week 1 with hamstring injury. Nick Moore will also miss another week with a foot injury.
The Roughriders have placed Dan Clark back in the lineup, as well as rookie receiver Alex Pierzchalski. Taj Smith and Matt Vonk will miss Thursday night’s action.
Stay tuned for more roster moves as the week continues.
Below is a look at the top five consensus picks by position for Week 6, according to TSN Fantasy Owners.
QB: Bo Levi Mitchell (29.4%), Mike Reilly (25.4%), Drew Willy (21.0%), Darian Durant (12.3%), Kevin Glenn (6.2%)
RB: Will Ford (27.0%), Nic Grigsby (24.9%), Andrew Harris (18.0%), Martell Mallett (9.8%), Chevon Walker (4.8%)
REC:Adarius Bowman (51.0%), Emmanuel Arceneaux (23.5%), Jeff Fuller (17.5%), Chris Getzlaf (12.4%), Rob Bagg (11.7%)
Flex: Nic Grigsby (17.9%), Andrew Harris (13.4%), Will Ford (10.5%), Martell Mallett (5.9%), Adarius Bowman (5.7%)
Kickers:Lirim Hajrullahu (53.8%), Grant Shaw (18.8%), Paul McCallum (8.8%), Justin Medlock (5.6%), Brett Maher (3.9%)