The Tiger-Cats will bid for their sixth win in eight games and a season sweep of the B.C. Lions on Friday when the two clubs reconvene in Hamilton, Ontario.
The Tiger-Cats (8-8) continued their ascent last Saturday as Bo Levi Mitchell and Matt Shiltz combined to throw for 400 yards in a 38-13 romp over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Mitchell completed 4 of 6 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown in one quarter in his return to action from a broken right leg. The two-time Grey Cup champion then gave way to Shiltz, who went 16-for-19 for 271 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters of predetermined relief.
“We have a lot to do to be a true playoff contender,” Mitchell said, via the Hamilton Spectator. “But what I’ve been seeing and what (coach Orlondo Steinauer has) been preaching is that we’re building on the good plays, and it’s becoming more consistent every play. And the bad plays are becoming not as detrimental to us.
“As happy as we are, we understand the road ahead of us and what we’re going to have to do to make that (a Grey Cup berth) happen. I can tell you everyone believes we can do it.”
James Butler rolled up 184 scrimmage yards (107 rushing, 77 receiving) as Hamilton handed Saskatchewan its fifth straight loss. He had 154 (118 rushing, 36 receiving) yards and two touchdowns in the Tiger-Cats’ 30-13 victory over the Lions on Aug. 26.
B.C. (11-5) rebounded from that loss to win its next four games before seeing a late 10-point lead go by the boards in a 34-26 setback to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Oct. 6. The Lions’ loss gave the Blue Bombers (12-4) the inside track for first place in the West Division.
“For a regular-season game, that’s about as emotional and about as big as games get,” B.C. head coach Rick Campbell said. “We just got to make sure we channel it in the right direction, which I know they will. That’s the key, is to use it. Use it as fuel for the future to get better.”
Former NFL running back JaQuan Hardy received first-team repetitions in practice in place of leading rusher Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell (ribs). Mizzell joined defensive lineman Josh Archibald (shoulder) and defensive back Jalon Edwards-Cooper (shoulder) in being ruled out versus Hamilton.