Baltimore-hamilton Tonight

August 27, 1994|By Ken Murray

Site: Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton, Ontario

Time: 7

Line: Baltimore by 2

TV/Radio: Ch. 2/WJFK (1300 AM)

Records: Baltimore 4-3, Hamilton 2-5 in Eastern Division

Last week: Baltimore was upset by Toronto, 31-24; Hamilton beat Shreveport, 30-26, in torrential rain.

First meeting: Baltimore won, 30-15, in Week 6 as Tracy Ham threw for 442 yards and two touchdowns. The CFLs led 20-2 in the first half, then let Hamilton get as close as 20-15 before putting the game away.

On the sidelines: Baltimore's Don Matthews has a career record of 100-62-1 in 10 CFL seasons. He got his 100th win against Hamilton Aug. 10. Don Sutherin replaced John Gregory two days later and is 1-0 as Hamilton's coach.

What Baltimore has to do to win: Crank up the pass rush. The CFLs signed Elfrid Payton to get more pressure off the edge of the defense. Pressure leads to turnovers, and turnovers lead to points, if not blowouts. Defensive pressure also will take some of the heat off QB John Congemi, who starts if Ham is unable to play. Two weeks ago, RB Mike Pringle battered Hamilton for 172 rushing yards, opening up the passing lanes for Ham. The CFLs need to avoid the turnovers that kept Hamilton alive in the second half last time.

What Hamilton has to do to win: Open up the passing game. Under Gregory, the Tiger-Cats' offense was safety-first. QB Timm Rosenbach needs to stretch the defense. Pass protection for Rosenbach will be critical, too. It has been a trouble spot for Hamilton. The defense had too many big-play breakdowns in the first game.

Injury report: Baltimore -- Ham (thigh) is questionable; DT Jearld Baylis (knee) and DT Robert Presbury (knee, thumb) will play. Hamilton -- WR Earl Winfield (hamstring), RT Dave Richardson (knee) are out; OG Dale Sanderson (foot) will return.

Outlook: Congemi was signed for this purpose, to give Baltimore veteran experience if Ham went down. He's capable and figures to play, if not start. With extra reps in practice this week, he should be prepared. Expect the CFLs to lean on Pringle and the running game. The uncertainty at QB makes it imperative the CFLs get defensive pressure. The defense needs a big game -- and should get it.

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