October 31, 2023

3 stats that could loom large in the Eastern Semi-Final

Thomas Skrlj/CFL.ca

TORONTO — The Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will face off in the Eastern Semi-Final for the third consecutive season with the second straight at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.

Last year the Als got the best of the Ticats 28-17 and have also won the last three meetings between the two teams in 2023, including a 22-20 victory in Week 21. Despite all the familiarity between the two teams, there’s always something new a team can bring to the table when it’s win or go home.

CFL.ca takes you through stats that could be the deciding factor in who advances to the Eastern Final.

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12 – Non-offensive touchdowns

The Alouettes have consistently been able to find ways to score that doesn’t involve their offence. Montreal has 43 total majors with only 31 offensive touchdowns. That means that defence and special teams have combined for a league-high 12 scores.

Returner James Letcher Jr. added two of those – including one in Week 21 against the Tiger-Cats – as a newfound weapon for the Als in the absence of special teams ace Chandler Worthy, who also has a major of his own in 2023 on a punt return.

Defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy and linebacker Tyrice Beverette were the main driving force on the defensive side of things when it came to scoring, adding a pair of touchdowns each. The Tiger-Cats will have to make sure to play mistake-free football to keep Montreal from adding to that total.


1,269 – Receiving yards

Tim White‘s absence from the lineup in Week 21 meant that the Alouettes did not have to scheme to stop the league leader in receiving yards (1,269). The veteran finished the season strong with 337 yards and three majors over his final three appearances of the season. He’ll go against a Montreal defence that was second-best in passing yards allowed and first in completion over 30 yards and passing efficiency.

The passing game in Hamilton goes through its top receiver, with White finishing 400 yards ahead of Terry Godwin (864) for most receiving yards on the team. White was also third in targets in the CFL with 124 and should remain the focal point of the passing game for the Ticats.


On the other sideline will be rookie sensation Austin Mack, who finished in the top five in receiving yards (1,154) while also doing a big part of his work after the catch with 413 yards. In Week 9 Mack got the best of White with five catches for 106 yards to only two receptions for 21 yards for the Tiger-Cat. The latter did go off in last year’s Semi-Final though with eight catches for 142 yards.

6 – interceptions


The Ticats finished with the second highest number of interceptions (21) thrown and will have to face a secondary with a knack for turning the ball over. Montreal finished third in picks, led by Dequoy with five. Hamilton is deploying a system that has quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell taking the field first with backups Matthew Shiltz and Taylor Powell potentially taking snaps under centre as well.

Mitchell missed time with injury in his first season with the Tiger-Cats, throwing six majors and 10 picks over five games this season. The turnover number is inflated by a five-interception game against the Ottawa REDBLACKS in Week 8, as the veteran has only one pick over his last two games since returning from injury.

The Als were third in total interceptions forced in 2023 with 20 and over two games against the Tabbies they allowed no majors while picking off Hamilton’s quarterbacks a total of six times.

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