Posted by: Jeremy | September 6, 2009

Argos, Ti-Cats set for Labour Day Classic


Arland Bruce III is on the opposite sideline this time around

Arland Bruce III is on the opposite sideline this time around

Last Labour Day, Arland Bruce III had 10 receptions, 149 yards and a touchdown to lead the Argos to a 34-31 win over the Tiger-Cats. He’ll be looking to put up similar numbers this time around, except he’s now a member of the opposite team. Bruce faces his former teammates for the first time when Toronto and Hamilton meet Monday afternoon at Ivor Wynne Stadium in the annual Labour Day Classic.

Bruce, the Argos’ leading receiver in 2008, was traded to the Tiger-Cats on July 29 following a public fallout with head coach Bart Andrus. In four games with Hamilton, Bruce has caught 18 passes and three touchdowns.

“It’ll be exciting facing him,” Argos linebacker Willie Pile said last week. “We know what kind of competitor he was — he treated every practice like it was gameday.

“It’ll be interesting going up against him, but I think we’ve got the personnel to match up with him. We’re excited to be getting after him and going after their scheme.”

Toronto — last in the CFL with a 2-6 record — opened the regular season with a 30-17 win in Hamilton on Canada Day. Since then, a lot has changed — Bruce, of course, has switched sides, and Andrus made a change at quarterback, replacing Kerry Joseph with Cody Pickett. In two starts, Pickett has thrown for 637 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Hamilton, meanwhile, has gone in the opposite direction since the opener. Since the loss to Toronto, the Tiger-Cats have won three straight home games and four of seven games overall. Rookie running back DeAndra’ Cobb has emerged as one of the league’s top rushers, entering Monday’s tilt with 501 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Quinton Porter and Kevin Glenn have split the quarterback duties effectively, combining for 11 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards.

The challenge for Toronto’s defense will be playing a full 60 minutes. The Argos surrendered fourth quarter leads to B.C. and Calgary in their previous two games after strong first half defensive efforts. Toronto gave up game-winning touchdowns in the final minute of both games.

“It’s a matter of staying hungry,” linebacker Zeke Moreno said of the late collapses. “It’s hard to put a finger on it, but we lost that edge. We started playing on our heels and that momentum just wasn’t there.”

Monday’s game is the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams, with the second coming Friday at Rogers Centre. The Labour Day Classic kicks off at four.

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