October 5, 2023

CFL.ca Game Notes: Schoen looking to break records

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Welcome to Thanksgiving Weekend Presented by Purolator, also known as Week 18. That’s right, only three more weeks to go after this one and there’s still plenty on the line for almost every team.

The first game of the weekend features two teams in completely different situations. The Toronto Argonauts, who have already secured a spot in the Eastern Final, host the Edmonton Elks still holding on to hope of catching the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Division. The Elks can’t lose anymore if they have any hopes of cutting the four-point difference between them in the standings and are hoping a week of rest coming off a bye will be the differential they need. The Argos meanwhile continue their preparation to defend their title in November.

Friday continues with an exciting matchup between two teams sitting atop the West Division standings in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and BC Lions. With identical 11-4 records, both clubs are looking to outdo each other over the final stretch to secure a crucial spot in the Western Final. BC is riding a four-game winning streak going into the game and will host a Bombers team that has won the division in the past two years. They have split the season series so far with the Lions winning 30-6 in Week 3 and Winnipeg getting revenge with a 50-14 win in Week 9, both at IG Field.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will travel to Regina on Saturday to face a Roughriders team that currently holds the best odds of clinching the final playoff spot still at play. If the Riders take care of business at home, both the Elks and the Ottawa REDBLACKS will be eliminated from post-season contention, with only the Calgary Stampeders (who are on a bye week) remaining as a challenger to the Green and White. Hamilton meanwhile has secured their place and are getting healthier down the stretch with both veterans Bo Levi Mitchell and Matthew Shiltz sharing reps in practice this week to give them options at quarterback.

The final action takes place on Thanksgiving with the REDBLACKS taking the short trip to Montreal to face the Alouettes who are looking to secure a home playoff date. If the Ticats lose on Saturday, the Als could clinch a post-season game at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium with a win over Ottawa on Monday. It’s the second straight bout between the two teams, with a Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Shawn Lemon-led defence dominating for Montreal in the 32-15 win over the REDBLACKS in Week 17.

Buy Thanksgiving Weekend Presented by Purolator Tickets
» Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET: Edmonton at Toronto
» Friday, 10:00 p.m ET: Winnipeg at BC
» Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET: Hamilton at Saskatchewan
» Monday, 1:00 p.m. ET: Ottawa at Montreal

DOWN THE STRETCH
(Team | Remaining opponents | Combined record)

West Division

  • Winnipeg (11-4) |@BC, Bye, EDM, @CGY | 19-26 (.422)
  • BC (11-4) | WPG, @HAM, CGY, Bye | 22-23 (.489)
  • Saskatchewan (6-9) | HAM, @CGY, TOR, Bye | 23-21 (.523)
  • Calgary (4-11) | Bye, SSK, @BC, WPG | 28-17 (.622)
  • Edmonton (4-11) | @TOR, MTL, @WPG, Bye | 31-13 (.705)

East Division

  • Toronto (12-2) | EDM, OTT, @SSK, @OTT | 18-42 (.300)
  • Montreal (8-7) | OTT, @EDM, Bye, HAM | 15-30 (.333)
  • Hamilton (7-8) | @SSK, BC, Bye, @MTL | 25-20 (.556)
  • Ottawa (4-11) | @MTL, @TOR, Bye, TOR | 32-11 (.744)

BEST OF THE WEST

  • The winner of the Winnipeg vs. BC game will take sole possession of first place in the division and hold the tie-breaker.
  • The last time BC finished atop the West Division was in 2012 (12-5) with Mike Benevides as the Head Coach.
  • Winnipeg is looking to win the division for the third straight season – a feat the team has not achieved since 1994 when they were in the East.
  • In Week 3, BC defeated Winnipeg 30-6 at IG Field; Winnipeg struck back in Week 9 with a 50-14 win at home.
  • Vernon Adams Jr. is 2-0 as a Lion vs. Winnipeg, while Zach Collaros is 5-1 with Winnipeg versus BC.
  • In Week 9, Kenny Lawler recorded seven receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown, while Dalton Schoen notched 137 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Winnipeg has won three of its last four visits to BC since 2019.
  • Both teams are top-two in the league in several categories, including:
    • Net offence per game | WPG 409 | BC 380
    • Passing yards per game | BC 316 | WPG 290
    • Passing TDs | WPG 35 | BC 31
    • Second down conversion percentage | WPG 55 | 49.8
    • Opponent passing TDs | WPG 10 | BC 13
    • Opponent net offence | WPG 298.1 | BC 313.3
    • Opponent yards per play | BC 5.81 | WPG 5.91
  • BC is looking to win its first season series against Winnipeg since 2017.
  • Mike O’Shea and Rick Campbell have coached against one another in 18 regular season games with O’Shea winning 11.

150 AND COUNTING

  • Since the team’s regular east schedule began in 1907 as members of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union, the Toronto Argonauts have played 1,427 games with 680 regular season wins, 24 Division titles (including this season), 24 Grey Cup appearances and a record 18 championships
  • Argo All-time leaders:
    • Passing yards | Ricky Ray (20,205)
    • Rushing yards | Dick Shatto (7,007)
    • Receiving yards | Derrell Mitchell (9,048)
    • Scoring | Lance Chomyc (1,498)
    • Touchdowns | Shatto (91)
    • Games played | Don Moen (222)
    • Coaching Wins | Bob O’Billovich (89)
    • Highest Win percentage | 1996 and 1997 (15-3, .833)
    • Longest Win Streak | 1997 (10)

QUICK SLANTS

  • Since Week 13, 75 per cent of games have been decided in the final three minutes.
  • Weeks 9-17 have averaged 54 points per game – a 16 per cent increase over the first eight weeks.
  • Edmonton is coming off its second bye week of the season. Teams are 13-4 on a week’s rest.
  • In his last three games, Tre Ford has completed 68 per cent of his passes while averaging 9.3 yards per rush.
  • Edmonton’s Nyles Morgan needs two tackles to reach 100 on the season.
  • Eugene Lewis (4,939) needs 61 receiving yards to reach 5,000 in his career.
  • Edmonton’s Kevin Brown and Toronto’s AJ Ouellette lead the league with nine 20+ yard rushes this season.
  • Last week, the Argos did not allow a sack for the eighth time this season.
  • Last week and for the first time this season, the Argos didn’t record a better average field position than their opponent.
  • Nic Demski (963) needs 27 receiving yards for his first 1,000-yard season. If he reaches the mark, Winnipeg will become the first team to have a National receiver with 1,000+ yards and a National rusher in Brady Oliveira with 1,000+ yards in the same season.
  • Oliveira rushed for a career-high 169 yards last week, marking his seventh 100+ yard game this season.
  • Last week, for the first time this season, Winnipeg did not record a sack.
  • Dalton Schoen is looking to become the first player in CFL history to lead the league in touchdown receptions in each of his first two seasons.
  • Zach Collaros (11,327) needs 178 passing yards to move past Matt Dunigan (11,504) into eighth on the Bombers’ list. With 13 more yards, he will move into the league’s Top-20, passing Kerry Joseph (28,097).
  • Since Labour Day Weekend (Week 13), BC is a league best 4-0.
  • BC’s Mathieu Betts registered a sack last week to reach 15 on the season. With two more, he will tie the record by a National set by Brent Johnson in 2005.
  • Keon Hatcher set a career high with 172 receiving yards last week, giving him 263 in his past two games.
  • Prior to Vernon Adams Jr. (458 passing yards) and Jake Dolegala (409) last week, the previous game in which two quarterbacks reached 400+ yards was August 18, 2013 with Ricky Ray (413) and Michael Reilly (511).
  • Hamilton running back James Butler (942) needs 58 yards to reach 1,000+ yards for a second consecutive season.
  • In their last two games, the REDBLACKS have nine sacks.
  • Ottawa’s Bralon Addison recorded seven catches for 94 yards last week.
  • With one more sack, Shawn Lemon will become the 13th player to reach 100 in his career.
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