Quarterback Zach Collaros has been solid since returning to Hamilton's lineup

By The Canadian Press
September 7, 2016 - 2:00pm

It's been a triumphant return for Zach Collaros.

The 28-year-old quarterback has been nothing short of sensational since rejoining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In his four starts, Collaros has completed 109 of 158 passes (69 per cent) for 1,510 yards with 15 TDs and just two interceptions.

Collaros was 28 of 35 passing for 359 yards and four TDs in Hamilton's 49-36 Labour Day win over Toronto and will look to lead the Ticats (5-4) to a sweep of the three-game season series Sunday at BMO Field.

Hamilton is 2-2 since Collaros returned from last season's serious knee injury but Collaros improved to 5-2 against his former team.

Former Toronto slotback Chad Owens made his 100th career CFL game count. Owens had six catches for 63 yards and the go-ahead TD grab for the Ticats in his first-ever Labour Day game with Hamilton.

History is certainly on Hamilton's side, having won five straight against its archrival. And although the Ticats are 3-3 on the road, Toronto (4-6) is just 1-5 at BMO Field and has lost four straight to stand just two points ahead of last-place Montreal (3-7) in the East Division standings.

Hamilton is also 3-0 within the East Division while Toronto is 2-3.

And although the Argos converted four first-half turnovers by Hamilton into 24 points, they couldn't make a 27-7 advantage stand. The Ticats outscored Toronto 32-6 in the second half as Collaros threw three TD passes and added a two-point convert.

But Collaros was hardly a one-man show as running back C.J. Gable rushed for 135 yards on just 12 carries. Hamilton's offence rolled up 511 total yards, including 152 on the ground.

Toronto starter Ricky Ray was 31 of 41 passing for 386 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, including one that Emmanuel Davis returned for a game-clinching 55-yard TD late in the fourth.

The improbability of Hamilton being so carefree with the football and Toronto's home struggles are hard to overlook.

Pick — Hamilton.


Montreal Alouettes versus B.C. Lions (Friday night)

Rakeem Cato starts at quarterback for Montreal ahead of veteran Kevin Glenn. Cato will have receiver Duron Carter back in the lineup as Carter missed last week's 19-14 loss to Ottawa due to suspension. Carter is the Als' receiving leader with 46 catches for 717 yards and five TDs but the offence is second-last in scoring (20.5 points per game). B.C. (7-3) is coming off a 16-13 win in Toronto, its fifth win in six road games. The Lions are 2-2 at home but an impressive 5-1 against East Division competition. Linebacker Solomon Elimimian had a club-record 14 tackles versus Toronto and anchors a defence that has a CFL-high 33 sacks.

Pick — B.C.


Saskatchewan Roughriders versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Saturday afternoon)

The Bombers (6-4) have won five straight, including a controversial 28-25 decision over Saskatchewan (1-9) on Sunday, their first victory in 12 games at Mosaic Stadium. The Riders' Justin Cox was flagged for pass interference following his interception with 28 seconds remaining to play. Three plays later, Justin Medlock kicked the game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired. Matt Nichols improved to 5-0 as Winnipeg's starter after completing 27-of-39 passes for 341 yards and a touchdown. Darian Durant was 36-of-47 passing for 399 yards and a TD with two interceptions for the Riders, who are 0-6 both on the road and within the West Division.

Pick — Winnipeg.


Calgary Stampeders versus Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday night)

Calgary (8-1-1) has won seven straight and is unbeaten in nine games. Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 380 yards and two TDs while Jerome Messam ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Stampeders' 45-24 Labour Day win over Edmonton (5-5). Mitchell is a stellar 36-7-1 as a CFL starter. The defence did its part, sacking Mike Reilly five times and registering three turnovers (two interceptions, once on downs). Reilly finished 23 of 36 passing for 219 yards and a touchdown to go with the two picks in the Eskimos' first loss in four games.

Pick — Calgary.


Last week: 5-0.

Overall: 26-18-1.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

North American squad has young veterans to lean on at World Cup of Hockey