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HAMILTON — In both regular season matchups against the BC Lions, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats faced quarterback Jonathon Jennings.
But this time around, it’ll be veteran pivot Travis Lulay under centre for the Leos on Sunday for the Eastern Semi-Final at Tim Hortons Field.
“With Lulay there, he’s going to be going through the same reads (as Jennings),” safety Mike Daly said after practice on Tuesday. “He’s a little quicker to pull the trigger but Jonathon added that running aspect so it’s like you give, take. What’s better than the other? I’m not too sure.”
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Jennings, who is known for his ability to use his legs to get out of the pocket, ran 36 times for 226 yards this season. Lulay, on the other hand, had called his own number just 10 times for 72 yards. Through the air, Lulay completed 187 of his 311 pass attempts for 2,494 yards while Jennings connected on 161 of 239 for 1,628 yards.
Head coach June Jones knows that the Tabbies will have their hands full with Lulay in the game this time around.
“I think Lulay, just watching him on film, and history from watching him last year too, he’s a very accurate passer,” said Jones. “He’ll stand in and throw the ball. When you have that combination of accuracy and willingness to stand in and take a hit, you can play.”
Hamilton will also be facing a different running back, Tyrell Sutton. In the first two meetings between these two teams it was Jeremiah Johnson in the backfield, who amassed just 31 rushing yards in both games combined.
Sutton, a late season pickup, has already added life back into the Lions ground game and Hamilton knows that they’ll need to keep the power back under control and stop the run early.
“I feel like he’s one of the best backs in the league,” linebacker Don Unamba said. “He’s a tough, gritty runner. We’ll have a swarm tackle where everybody gets to the ball. We don’t want to leave anybody with a one-on-one situation with him all the time. He’s a tough runner.”
Daly agreed with his teammate.
“He’s a downhill runner,” he said. “He’s probably the best in the league at doing it. He’s pretty tough to bring down so we have to get multiple bodies on him. Arm tackles don’t really work on him so you really have to bring your feet, all that kind of stuff. He’s always been good so that’s what we have to worry about.”
The Tiger-Cats and Lions kickoff the Eastern Semi-Final on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.