Lions-TiCats: Three themes and players to watch

 

 
 
 
 
If the Tiger-Cats aren’t concerned with ballhawk T.J. Lee, pictured, they should be.
 

If the Tiger-Cats aren’t concerned with ballhawk T.J. Lee, pictured, they should be.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

THREE THEMES

EAST BEASTS

If the Tiger-Cats should defeat the Lions at BC Place Stadium for the first time since 2009 (the Lions lost to the Ticats twice at Empire Field), it would represent an unprecedented sweep by the East Division in Vancouver. Since 1981, when the home-and-home format began, B.C. has defeated at least one East Division team at home. Montreal (first time since 2000), Toronto (second consecutive year) and Ottawa (first time since 1990) won earlier this season at BCP.

RUSH-HOUR SNARL

It’s the personal goal of Andrew Harris, pictured, to win his first CFL rushing title. Incongruously, however, the Lions’ feature back entered Week 18 in pursuit of that goal, having piled up just 30 yards (13 carries) in a pair of games against Edmonton, three weeks apart. Harris was limited to three yards rushing (four carries) Sept. 13 against Ottawa and 36 yards (eight carries) Aug. 15 at Hamilton. Still, with 868 yards, he remains the league rushing leader, 42 ahead of Jerome Messam.

BRINGER OF RAINEY

Returner Chris Rainey, pictured, who wears No. 28 for the Lions, spent part of the practice week wearing a No. 16 scout team bib, mimicking the Tiger-Cats’ explosive returner Brandon Banks. The Ticats also should be preoccupied by thoughts of what Rainey can do. Since joining the Lions seven games ago, Rainey has averaged 14 yards per punt return. His kickoff return average is 27.6 yards, also No. 1 in the CFL. And his average of 167 combined yards is unparalleled.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

HAMILTON

C.J. GABLE, Running Back

Though new to the CFL as a head coach, the Lions’ Jeff Tedford knows a lot about Gable, a California native and a player Tedford tried to recruit when he was head man of the Cal Bears. Gable, pictured, instead went to USC, where he played as a freshman. “He’s a big-play guy,” Tedford said. “We need to limit him and keep them in long yardage situations (on second down).” Ticats rushed the ball just 13 times when they crushed the Lions 52-22 on Aug. 15.

B.C.

T.J. LEE, Halfback

If the Tiger-Cats aren’t concerned with ballhawk T.J. Lee, pictured, they should be. In his first full season as a starter (Lee appeared in eight games in his rookie year), the former Eastern Washington Eagle is the only CFL player in the top 10 in both defensive tackles (71, No. 6) and interceptions (four, tied for No. 6). He also has three sacks (defensive end Craig Roh is the Lions’ leader with six). “My role has expanded a ton this year,” Lee says. “I appreciate the trust.”

 
 
 
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If the Tiger-Cats aren’t concerned with ballhawk T.J. Lee, pictured, they should be.
 

If the Tiger-Cats aren’t concerned with ballhawk T.J. Lee, pictured, they should be.

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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