TORONTO -- It’s a common belief in the CFL that the real regular season doesn’t begin until Labour Day weekend is over and done with.
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Because of that, there is plenty of reason to believe that the annual Week 11 rematches have all the makings to live up to the ‘classics’ we witnessed last week.
The Battle of Alberta gets the weekend started with what’s expected to be another intense skirmish, as Kerry Joseph gets his second start in as many weeks against his provincial rivals from Calgary.
On Saturday, fans will be treated to some more double-header action, as the Battle of Ontario shifts to Rogers Centre in Toronto, while the Als travel West to take on the Lions.
Finally, after coming out on the wrong side of a 52-0 decision last week in Regina, the Blue Bombers are hoping that home soil will provide better results against the Roughriders in the 2012 Banjo Bowl.
Equipped with the most up-to-date storylines, roster moves, stats, milestones and trends, enjoy this week's CFL.ca Game Notes.
By the Numbers:
Close Calls: Throughout the history of the CFL, there have been 36 Labour Days where both Calgary vs. Edmonton and Toronto vs. Hamilton matchups were held. This year’s games saw margins of just one and three points in deciding the two contests. The combined margin of four points is the closest in league history since 1961, when the four clubs combined for a margin of just three points. (Edmonton 10, Calgary 9 and Hamilton 21, Toronto 19).
Close Calls Part 2: This year’s two holiday outings combined for six lead changes and two fourth-quarter rallies, while both winning points were scored inside the final two minutes. It also marks the first time in league history where all four clubs scored at least 30 points.
QB Streak Updates: BC Lions pivot Travis Lulay threw a touchdown pass last week to extend his streak to 20 games with at least one strike to the endzone – he now owns the fourth longest streak in history, and is one back of Doug Flutie and Anthony for second all-time. Calvillo, meanwhile, set a new record last week with his eighth-straight game with at least 300 passing yards.
Back-to-back-to-back: Hamilton’s Chris Williams set a new single-season record for total kick return touchdowns with six. He also tied the CFL record for punt return scores with five. Williams became the first player in league history to record a punt return touchdown in three consecutive games. Over his last 11 returns, he has gains of 72, 47, 70, 82 and 63 yards. Should Williams continue at this clip, he will set another record for highest average per-return with 18.0, eclipsing the record of 16.8 set by Leon Bright in 1980.
Chad Owens 402: The Argonauts receiver/kick returner has now reached 2,227 all-purpose yards through just nine games; a pace that would easily vault him ahead of Mike ‘Pinball’ Clemons’ record of 3,840 that he set in 1997. Owens also registered 402 combined yards on Labour Day, the third highest single-game total in CFL history.
Shutting them out: The Roughriders’ shutout of Winnipeg last week was the first in the CFL since August of 2009, when the Alouettes shut out the Argonauts 25-0. The 52 point margin was the fourth largest blanking in league history. Coincidentally, the largest shutout happens to be Winnipeg blanking the Roughriders 56-0 in July 1986.
Burnett Burns’em: With his interception on Labour Day, Burnett grabbed the league-lead with four, and now has three defensive touchdowns this season. The league record for combined interception/fumble return TD is five, set by Malcolm Frank in 2004.
Hugh gains: Eskimos running back Hugh Charles now has three 100-yard games this season, two of which arrived by receiving yards. He is the first running back to record two 100-yard receiving games in a season since Kenton Keith in 2006, Thomas Haskins in 2002 and Robert Drummond in 2000.
Road Improvements: Last season, Toronto had a 1-7 record in their first eight home games. After their Labour Day win over the Tiger-Cats, they are now 3-2 away from home.
Kory Sheets: Thanks to his first-career 100-yard rushing game, the Saskatchewan tailback now leads the CFL in rushing yards with 648 – a six-yard lead over Calgary’s Jon Cornish.
Weston Dressler: After a few ‘down’ weeks, the Saskatchewan receiver bounced back in fine fashion last Sunday, hauling in four receptions for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Ahmad Carroll: Following a week in which he committed several unnecessary penalties, the Toronto defensive back recovered nicely, registering a clutch pick-six in the fourth quarter.
Arland Bruce: Though his age may indicate otherwise, the BC receiver has been enjoying a stellar season thus far, highlighted by last week’s outing of 76 yards and two touchdowns.
Throwing the Flag:
The most penalized team after the first half of the season is Toronto, who have been flagged 93 times for 767 yards. The most disciplined team of the first half is Saskatchewan, who have been whistled down just 68 times for 517 yards.
On Wednesday, the Edmonton Eskimos shipped underachieving receiver Greg Carr to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in exchange for the rights to non-import offensive linemen Matt O'Donnell. The clubs also swapped draft picks, with the Riders acquiring Edmonton's 5th round pick in the 2013 CFL Canadian Draft in exchange for Saskatchewan's 4th round pick in the same draft.
Also on Wednesday, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats acquired import defensive lineman Torrey Davis from the Calgary Stampeders in exchange for future considerations.
On Thursday, the Edmonton Eskimos announced that veteran pivot Kerry Joseph would make his second-straight start, as Steven Jyles continues to recover from a leg injury.
The Alouettes will welcome back Jamel Richardson to the lineup. The receiver has missed the last three games with a hamstring issue.
Calgary receiver Nik Lewis needs just 92 yards to reach 10,000 on his career, Only Allen Pitts has accomplished the feat while wearing a Stampeders uniform.