GAMEDAY PREVIEW: High Stakes for both Ticats & Argos at Labour Day Classic

At the season half-way point, Hamilton and Toronto eye the playoffs

By: Jerred Bapty

Monday, September 3, 2018

Kickoff: 6:30PM EDT

Watch: TSN, ESPN+, BT Sport

Listen: TSN1050, TSN 1150

HAMILTON -- As forecasts of humidity and thunderstorms loom over another Labour Day Classic, both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts have a lot on the line. 

The first half of the Argos' season has fallen short of expectations. Without Quarterback Ricky Ray, Toronto struggled to find consistency at the starter position and faltered on defence with numerous injuries. With a record of 3-6, the Argos still sit only 2 points back of 2nd place in the East. 

A spot currently held by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. 

Hamilton as well has not had the season they anticipated. They failed to acheive consistency under first-time starting QB Jeremiah Masoli, who has struggled in the red zone with just 9 passing touchdowns to his 10 interceptions. The Ticats have also managed to come back in 4 games this season, only to blow it in the final seconds. 

This would be turning point the Argos need. 

A win for Toronto in the Labour Day Classic would bring them into a tie for 2nd again and put Hamilton's identity up for questioning. A sweep of the back-to-back would send Hamilton into chaos, while boosting Toronto's confidence further for their stretch of 3 Western team games coming up after next week. 

Wins for the Ticats on the other hand could spell disaster for the remainder of the Argonaut season. If Hamilton manages to put 3 games between them and Toronto, a Western playoff Crossover could be imminent. 

Things to Know

Hamilton is last in the league in running defence. Argo Running Back James Wilder Jr. has yet to have a breakout game this season, with his longest run being just 18 yards. He will look to take advantage. 

Argonaut Defensive Back Matt Black returns from injury. He played just 3 games this season before hitting the injured list and told, 'It's a great [game] to come back to.'

Other lineup changes: Despite earlier reports that Head Coach Marc Trestman had no intention of playing the newly acquired Wide Receiver Duron Carter against Hamilton, he is on the depth chart for tonight's game. Defensive Back Cassius Vaughn is out and WR Llevi Noel is in for Running Back Anthony Coombs.

Keep an eye on former Argo WR DeVier Posey, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens on August 31st. 

Hamiton WR Chris Williams landed on the 6-game injured list after having surgery on his right ankle. 

The Ticats got two key pieces of their defence back. DB Richard Leonard and DB Frankie Williams both return to the lineup. Offensive Lineman Landon Rice will dress after being signed earlier this week. Rice was traded to Montreal in the Johnny Manziel deal, but was released after 4 games with the Alouettes. 

The Stats aren't Pretty

The Argos are last in league in Total Points For (183), Passing Yards (2,132), Rushing Yards (799), Sacks (12), and tied for last with Hamilton in Interceptions (6).

The Ticats are 2nd in Possession Time (32:15), Rushing TDs (12), and Points Against (200). They're 3rd in Rushing yards (1,015) and Passing yards (2,936) but QB Masoli has been Sacked 22 times. 

Labour Day has historically been an unsuccessful day for Toronto. The Argos haven't won the Classic since 2012, while the Ticats hold the all-time series at 33-13-1. 

Let me know your thoughts! 

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Photo Credit: @CFL