The Hamilton Tiger-Cats can reach a couple of milestones when they visit the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg Saturday afternoon.
AM900 CHML’s coverage of the game begins with the Pregame Show at 1pm, kickoff is at 2 o’clock ET.
A Ticats victory over the 3-and-14 Blue Bombers would not only give Hamilton its first winning season since 2004, it would also be the franchise’s first 10 win season since 2001 when the club went 11-and-7.
But a win doesn’t mean anything in terms of playoff positioning as no team in the CFL can improve their standing in the East or West.
Given that, Ticats head coach and general manager Kent Austin has decided to rest a number of starters, including running back C.J. Gable, receiver Bakari Grant, right guard Greg Wojt, all three starting linebackers (Jamall Johnson, Simoni Lawrence & Brandon Isaac), and defensive backs Rico Murray, Evan McCollough and Emanuel Davis.
One player who isn’t getting this week off is quarterback Henry Burris, who will start and try to win his 100th career CFL game (99-83-3).
With 4,792 passing yards this season, the 38-year-old Burris needs 208 yards to go over 5,000 for the second straight season and third time in his career.
He would also become the first Ticats QB in history to throw for 5,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
As for the last place Blue Bombers, it has been a trying season in Winnipeg, which overhauled its front office, changed offensive coordinators and fell out of the playoff hunt by mid-season.
The team has used five different quarterbacks this season, four of which have started games, with current starter Max Hall auditioning one last time for a spot on next year’s squad.
There have been some bright spots for Winnipeg in 2013, including the play of running back/kick returner Will Ford.
The Bombers’ special teams player of the year has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and has averaged 5.7 yards per carry out of the backfield.
But as encouraging as Ford’s future might be, what may be discouraging for Winnipeg football fans is the anticipated departure of linebacker Henoc Muamba.
The soon to be CFL free agent was selected as the 2013 Bombers’ Most Outstanding Player, Most Outstanding Canadian, and Defensive Player of the Year.
Of note: Hamilton is 49-and-59 vs Winnipeg since 1961, but the Cats have won their last four meetings. A Ticats win over Winnipeg will mark the first time the Cats have won 4 games versus another team since 1989 (Toronto). Winnipeg has averaged a franchise record 31,177 fans at Investors Group Field this season. The Tiger-Cats need 12 first downs on Saturday to break the single season franchise record (290 in 2010).
Once the Ticats-Bombers game is finished, CHML will send listeners to the McMaster-Western OUA Semifinal from London.