The CFL's best rushing offense will clash with the league's top defense against the run Sunday afternoon in the East Division semifinal when the Montreal Alouettes visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Alouettes rush for 144.5 yards per game, led by William Stanback (1,176 yards despite missing two games) while the Tiger-Cats have allowed just 79.6 per game.
Stanback averaged 6.1 yards per carry and was named the East Division's outstanding player, although in two games against Hamilton he managed just 71 yards over the two games.
Hamilton won the first meeting this season, 27-10, in Montreal on Aug. 27, and Montreal won the return match, 23-20, in Hamilton on Oct. 2.
There will be a difference in this meeting. Quarterback Trevor Harris will make his fourth straight start for the Alouettes. The 35-year-old, who has won the Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks, was obtained in a trade with the Edmonton Elks on Oct. 17. He is 52-for-76 with 580 yards passing with seven touchdowns and two interceptions with Montreal.
In 2018, Harris was 29-for-32 for 367 passing yards and a CFL playoff-record six TD passes to lead Ottawa over Hamilton 46-27 in the East final.
"I think Trevor brings experience," Hamilton coach Orlondo Steinauer said. "Obviously, he's a champion. ... and he brings a sense of calmness. They're definitely different at the quarterback position but their M.O. remains the same. They want to run the football. They've got arguably the best back in the league."
"They haven't seen (Harris) in this offense, which I think is pretty cool," Alouettes coach Khari Jones said. "He is playing really good football right now and feeling confident."
The Alouettes could be without their top receiver Eugene Lewis (hip) on Sunday. He had 62 catches for 964 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing the final game of the regular season.
"We're still holding out hope that he'll be ready to play, but have plans if he's not," Jones said. "I'm still optimistic he's going to play."
Without Lewis, Hamilton could focus more on Jake Wieneke (56 catches, 898 yards, 11 touchdowns). Dante Absher, who caught five passes for 90 yards in five games, would replace Lewis.
--Field Level Media