Stallions-pirates Tonight

September 15, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht

Site: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.

Time: 8.

TV/Radio: ESPN2/WJFK (1300 AM), WGRX (100.7 FM).

Records: Baltimore 9-3; Shreveport 4-8.

Last week: Baltimore rallied for 17 fourth-quarter points to post a come-from-behind, 28-20 victory over Birmingham. Shreveport lost, 22-21, in Memphis, when kicker Bjorn Nittmo's 59-yard field-goal attempt on the game's final play sailed wide left for a single.

On the sidelines: Baltimore's Don Matthews has a 119-69-1 record in his 11th CFL season. Shreveport's Forrest Gregg, in his third CFL season, has a 12-34 record.

What Baltimore has to do to win: Hold on to the football, since the Pirates probably will need at least a little help via turnovers to pull an upset over the Stallions.

What Shreveport has to do to win: Establish a decent running game with RB Martin Patton to keep Baltimore's pass rush honest against Shreveport QB Billy Joe Tolliver.

Injury report: Baltimore -- FS Lester Smith (foot), CB Karl Anthony (knee), OT Shar Pourdanesh (ankles), DB Kareem Bacon (back), SB Mike Cook (knee) and G John James (ankle) are out for the game. RB Mike Pringle (hamstring) will play. Shreveport -- LB Reggie Anderson (knee), DB Cliff Baskerville (knee), SB Rod Harris (ankle), OL Ben Jefferson (knee), QB Mike Johnson (leg), DL Matt Pearson (foot), RB Junior Smith (eye) are out.

Outlook: The Stallions struggled to score 28 points last week, when they missed Pringle. The return of the CFL's top running back will put more pressure on a Shreveport defense that has been giving up 28 points a game, fourth highest in the league. Shreveport, behind Patton, has scored more than 60 points twice this year, although the Pirates aren't likely to get near that figure tonight, not against the league's best defense overall and against the run. Tolliver (2,317 yards, 10 TDs) has improved greatly over the past month, but his immobility doesn't bode well against the Stallions' pass rush. Look for Baltimore RE Elfrid Payton to conclude his two-game stretch without a sack. Baltimore defeated the Pirates three times last season, and though Shreveport is much improved, having already passed last year's victory total, the Stallions are expected to make it four straight without too much difficulty.

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