Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hamilton Tiger-Cats to Be Minus Backup Mathews for Rematch with Ottawa Redblacks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hamilton Tiger-Cats to Be Minus Backup Mathews for Rematch with Ottawa Redblacks

Article excerpt

Ticats lose backup for pivotal contest

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will have to try winning the East Division without their top two quarterbacks.

Hamilton (10-7) has placed backup Jeff Mathews on the injured list, meaning he won't play in the club's pivotal road game Saturday afternoon. The Ticats visit the Ottawa Redblacks (11-6) needing to win by seven or more points to finish atop the East Division and secure home-field advantage for the conference final Nov. 22.

Mathews took a hit to his head in last weekend's 12-6 home loss to Ottawa. After recording just two wins in their inaugural season last year, the Redblacks can finish first in the East with a victory, tie or loss by less than six points.

With Mathews sidelined, Jeremiah Massoli and Jacory Harris have shared quarterback reps in practice. Mathews became the starter when incumbent Zach Collaros suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 25-18 home loss to the Edmonton Eskimos in September.

Mathews was 20-of-35 passing for 160 yards last weekend with two interceptions and also lost one of his two fumbles. Ottawa got decent pressure on Mathews, registering six sacks, including two by newcomer Shawn Lemon, who also forced two fumbles.

On Tuesday, the Ticats signed former Toronto Argonaut Mitchell Gale.

Mathews has been decent statistically as a starter (100-of-150 passing, 67.1 per cent completion percentage for 1,211 yards) but has almost as many interceptions (five) as TDs (six). Over his last two starts, Mathews had twice as many interceptions (four) as touchdown passes (two).

Ottawa quarterback Henry Burris, who played despite suffering a knee injury in a 27-20 road win over Winnipeg on Oct. 24, finished 17-of-34 passing for 187 yards with an interception. But the 40-year-old is the CFL's passing leader (5,335 yards) and has recorded nine 300-yard passing games while possessing a gaudy 70. …

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