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Hamilton Tiger-Cats look to extend Tim Hortons Field win streak to nine games

It's up to quarterback Drew Willy and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to try and do something that's never been done at Tim Hortons Field.

The Bombers (3-3) visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (3-2) on Sunday evening looking to become the first road team to emerge victorious at the new stadium. The Ticats are 8-0 since opening the facility last Sept. 1 and are coming off a solid 34-18 victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

"We know we have a challenge in front of us but it's a great opportunity to go into Tim Hortons Field and hopefully come out with a win," Willy told reporters on Friday. "They're a good team, they've been good at home but you want those opportunities in life to be great.

"This is one of them."

Hamilton's defence was especially solid Monday night, forcing five turnovers — including four on downs. Twice the Ticats stopped the Argos on third-and-one opportunities, the biggest being at the Toronto 43-yard line in the third quarter that set up Zach Collaros's three-yard TD pass to Bakari Grant that put the home team ahead 28-9.

Willy tipped his cap to Hamilton's rugged defence.

"A lot of veterans, they've been playing together for a while," he said. "They obviously have good skill, good coaches."

The Bombers will also have to deal with a rabid, pro-Ticats crowd as Sunday's game is a sellout. Hamilton has sold out the stadium for every one of its games to date.

Running back C.J. Gable and Canadian slotback Andy Fantuz won't play Sunday night after being placed on the six-game injured list this week. Both sustained elbow ailments against Toronto. The good news is neither is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Gable was limited to just seven games last season due to shoulder and ankle injuries. He missed the first three games of the 2015 campaign with a broken finger suffered during training camp.

Hamilton added running back Ray Holley and wide receiver Giovanni Aprile to the active roster while former Winnipeg running back Nic Grigsby and receiver Robin Medeiros were placed on the practice roster.

"You're going to get opportunity in this league, you're going to get opportunity in the sport," Hamilton head coach/GM Kent Austin said. "It's tough to play 18 games in the amount of time we have to play them.

"It's a tough sport, that's why you have the numbers that you have on the roster and why we have a roster. The guys we picked we expect perform well and play well and they understand that. We have faith in them, that's why they're on the team."

Collaros was once again Hamilton's offensive catalyst, finishing 21-of-27 passing for 229 yards versus Toronto. But Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said there's no magic formula in containing Collaros.

"It's just sound, fundamental football," he said. "It's disciplined rush lanes and relentless pursuit.

"One of Zach's big assets is his movement in the pocket and his ability to escape and his desire to prolong the play to throw the ball. But I don't think it's anything magical that we're going to do. I think it's just consistent football."

Willy also gave Hamilton's defence something more to consider, rushing for a career-high 72 yards on five carries to lead the Bombers past the B.C. Lions 23-13.

"I don't know that they (opposing defences) are going to plan to have a person spy him or anything like that which you might've done with Damon Allen," O'Shea said. "But you have to certainly understand he's willing to do that."

The Canadian Press

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