A win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday isn’t as guaranteed as Toronto Argonauts lineback Ejiro Kuale thinks.
“Guess what? They’re going to lose next week. Period. Point blank. I’m guaranteeing it,” he told reporters last week after shocking the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 25-24.
However, in Hamilton, the Ticats (6-6) are coming off of a 55-36 stomping of the Calgary Stampeders in Moncton, N.B. and the last time the two squads met, the black and yellow came out with a 37-32 victory in August.
So once again, it won’t be that easy.
Toronto (3-9) is flying high after a single in the final minute against the Bombers brought them to within four points of the final playoff spot in the East. That spot being held down by the neighbours along Queen Elizabeth’s Way.
Hamilton’s Avon Cobourne leads the league with eight rushing touchdowns, is second in attempts (151) and third in yards (735).
And while the Argos’ back Cory Boyd doesn’t have the overall numbers to sit atop any league charts (he missed a chunk of the season with injury), he is a formidable threat and is coming off a 109-yard performance against Winnipeg.
Regardless of the run game, Toronto will need to put up more than the 88 passing yards it had against the Bombers in order to win on a regular basis, especially if the offence hopes to compete with the Tiger Cats, who passed for 279 yards against Calgary.
Quarterback Steven Jyles was 11-for-22 with one touchdown and three interceptions in Week 13. He’ll need to have his head on a swivel because defensive end Justin Hickman, currently second in league sacks (nine), will be looking for any way to crack the offensive line.
As for Kuale’s guarantee, not only did he not waver in his statement, he is putting more and more of the team on his shoulders.
“Everybody is beginning to me as the emotional leader of this football team,” he said. “If that’s the case, and they start feeding off of my energy, we can’t lose.”