August 11, 2017 8:16 am

Winless Ticats look for fresh start against visiting Winnipeg

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea speaks with the media on Thursday as they prepare to face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-6) look for their first win of the season Saturday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-2) making the trip to Tim Hortons Field.

After the game, listen to The 5th Quarter on AM900 CHML,, or the CHML App and Radioplayer Canada App.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Someone within the Ticats had to fall on their sword

The Ticats are the 18th team in CFL history to start a season 0-6. Only one team has ever managed to rebound and make the playoffs. The BC Lions did it in 1969 while finishing the regular season 5-11. However, that was before the Crossover Rule came into effect in 1996. Hamilton is not only contending with the East Division, they’re also trying to outpace the lethal west.

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Hamilton trails Winnipeg by eight points in the crossover standings. So at the moment, the quickest path to the postseason for the Ticats would be finishing as a top 2 team in the East. Thanks to the dismal division, playoff talk surrounding a 0-6 team is a reality.

It’s the first meeting between Hamilton and Winnipeg this season. After losing eight of nine meetings dating back to 2012, the Blue Bombers went 2-0 against the Ticats in 2016. They outscored Hamilton 65-35 and won the turnover ratio battle 12:2.

The Tiger-Cats partially hit the reset button. Last week the team announced that the well-travelled offensive specialist June Jones has joined the team as an assistant to head coach Kent Austin. While linebackers coach and NCAA national title winner Phillip Lolley replaced defensive co-ordinator Jeff Reinebold this week.

READ MORE: Lolley replaces Reinebold as Ticats defensive co-ordinator

Hamilton ranks last in more than half of the major CFL statistical categories, including total offence and defence. Although the Tiger-Cats are coming off perhaps their best effort of the season in a 33-28 loss in Edmonton against the undefeated Eskimos.

Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros had his best game of 2017 last week, leading a season-high three TD drives with three TD passes, 282 yards and a passer rating of 109.5. Collaros now has a 10-game losing streak as a starter. The CFL record for consecutive starts lost is 13 by Lynn Amedee with the Eskimos (1963-64).

READ MORE: Pair of Winnipeg Blue Bombers named top performers of the week

Winnipeg, meanwhile, is 2-1 on the road this season, after a 33-30 win in Ottawa in week seven. The Bombers pulled off yet another late comeback last week and with Matt Nichols at QB have made a habit of it. Nichols has now led three late 4th quarter game winning drives in 2017 on top of five last year. He’s engineered eight in his last 15 starts.

The Blue Bombers have overcome deficits of 5, 8, 12 and 14 points in their four wins in 2017.

Kickoff Saturday is at 7:30 pm.

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