Friday, August 27, 2010
Photo: Hamilton RB DeAndra Cobb (Michigan State) dances in for a touchdown before Toronto safety Willie Pile (Virginia Tech) can stop him. The Tiger-Cats won 16-12.
Welcome to another edition of The Whole 110 Yards, your weekly guide to the CFL! Only two games to cover last week and this week thanks to byes, so we'll get right to them. I'll also be live-blogging tonight's B.C. Lions - Calgary Stampeders clash tonight with the usual suspects in the CFL.ca Friday Night Football Live Chat; make sure to come join us at 10:30 Eastern/7:30 Pacific!
Game of the Week: Hamilton 16, Toronto 12
This edition of the Battle of Ontario was surprisingly entertaining despite the low score. Both teams' defences came to play and delivered impressive performances, particularly early; the score was 3-3 after the first quarter and 9-3 for Toronto at halftime. The Argonauts extended their lead to 12-3 in the third, but fell apart down the stretch, conceding 13 unanswered fourth-quarter points to lose the game.
Toronto actually did a pretty good job of shutting down Hamilton's star-studded receiving corps; Tiger-Cats' quarterback Kevin Glenn (Illinois State) completed only 25 of 36 passes for 247 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception, far below his usual standards. None of the Hamilton receivers, including Arland Bruce III (Minnesota) and Dave Stala (Saint Mary's) had great games, and no Tiger-Cats receiver was close to 100 yards.
Hamilton was able to get it done on the ground, though. Former Michigan State Spartan DeAndra Cobb came through in a big way for the second game in a row (unfortunately, the best possible Cobb headline was taken by the CFL.ca staff following that one) after a slow start to the season. Cobb picked up 99 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to lead Hamilton to victory. They're now only one game back of Toronto for second in the East.
Other game: Montreal 39, Winnipeg 17
The real story in this one wasn't found on the scoreboard, but rather in the pain on the face of Alouettes' quarterback Anthony Calvillo (Utah State) as he was wheeled off the field following a hard hit. Montreal was up 24-0 by the time he left, so the game wasn't really in question, but the next few weeks for them certainly were.
Fortunately for the Alouettes, Calvillo's injury wasn't as bad as it looked. It's still nothing to be taken lightly, though; the official diagnosis is "a sternum injury with bruising to his ribs" [Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette]. Montreal has a bye this week, but Calvillo has already ruled himself out of at least next week's game with B.C. That means former Florida Gator Chris Leak, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards but threw one interception in relief of Calvillo last week, will get his first CFL start. It's going to be interesting to see how he does, and if the Alouettes change their game plan to take advantage of his skills [Matt Dunigan, TSN.ca].
For Winnipeg, the problems are more immediate. The Bombers sank to 2-6 with the loss and remain well in the basement of the CFL's East Division. Quarterback Steven Jyles (Louisiana - Monroe) was largely ineffective, completing 11 of 22 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. That's just not good enough to win in this league. The Bombers don't have many other options, though; Buck Pierce (New Mexico State) is still struggling with injuries, and Alex Brink (Washington State) was worse than Jyles, completing just one of his five pass attempts in relief. Without better pivot performances, it might be a long year in Winnipeg.
Former College Star of the Week: Chris Leak, Florida
Leak was a huge star with the Gators. He first saw action as a freshman in 2003 and went 6-3 as a starter, incredibly impressive. He survived a change in head coaches (Ron Zook to Urban Meyer), worked under three different offensive coordinators and held off Tim Tebow in his senior year, carrying Florida to a national championship that was sealed with a 41-14 rout of The Ohio State University in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game (where he was named MVP). Things haven't gone as well for him since then, though; he wasn't picked in the NFL Draft after reportedly scoring an eight on his Wonderlic test. He signed with Chicago, but was soon cut. He decided to try the All-American Football League, which never made it off the ground, then tried out with Kansas City in 2008 but was cut. He signed with Hamilton June 3, 2008, but was cut only five days later. Montreal then swooped in and picked him up a day later. He's been there ever since, but mostly as the third-string quarterback, and he hasn't seen much on-field action. Now, thanks to injuries to Calvillo and usual backup Adrian McPherson (oddly enough, a Florida State product), Leak has another chance to shine.
Matchup of the week: Calgary at B.C. (tonight, 10:30 Eastern)
It's a 6-1 team versus a 1-6 one, but this might still be a compelling game. B.C. will be desperate for a win at home, and Calgary might just be lulled into a false sense of security. We'll have to see how it plays out, but it has the potential to be good, especially with B.C. quarterback Casey Printers (Texas Christian) returning from injury.
Other game: Saskatchewan at Edmonton (tomorrow, 7:00 p.m. Eastern)
This is a 5-2 team versus a 1-6 team, but it might not be as close. Edmonton's really struggling, Saskatchewan's rolling, and the Riders will even have a quasi home-field advantage; with Edmonton being so bad this year, even more tickets than usual have been sold to Saskatchewan fans looking for a road trip. It's going to be a cold one, with a high of 9 Celsius (about 48 Fahrenheit) predicted. It might be another chilling result for Eskimos fans too.
Last week: 1-1