It will be a special atmosphere at BMO Field as the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats battle for first place in the CFL’s East Division.
Growing up a Toronto Argonauts fan, Robbie Smith is no stranger to the magnitude of the rivalry with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The CFL’s most storied rivalry that has seen its fair share of big moments and Friday at BMO Field will be no different. For Smith, this is the most significant game he’ll play in considering what is at stake for both teams.
A win for Toronto allows them to clinch first place in the CFL’s East Division and that all-important BYE in the playoffs. Considering how banged up most teams are this season, the Argos want that advantage of having players not go through the grind that extra playoff game provides.
With Charleston Hughes out of the lineup, the Argos will be counting on Smith to put pressure on Jeremiah Masoli who has been playing like his old self after a tough start to the season.
“He’s been a great player in this league for years. So it was just a matter of time, before he got rolling, and we know he’s going to be at his best buy especially in a big game like he normally does,” head coach Ryan Dinwiddie explained. “For us, we got to do a good job of keeping it in the pocket. Make him make some big throws and make sure he can’t create with his leg because that’s when they’re really dangerous as an offence.”
Toronto Argonauts will need their offence to handle the pressure and deliver results
There is no doubting that the Tiger-Cats will have studied ways to throw a wrench in Dinwiddie’s gameplan and that’s to force McLeod Bethel-Thompson to make mistakes under pressure.
The best way to alleviate some of that is if the running game can be effective and allow the Argos to be less predictable. Without the efforts of A.J. Ouellette, the Argos would have struggled to secure a win against the Ottawa Redblacks.
By keeping Hamilton’s offence off the field and try to wear down their defence, the Argos can have more say in the pace of play. D.J. Foster’s return will allow them to use his skill set as a versatile back who has made dynamic plays on the ground and through the air.
Even though this is Foster’s first season in the CFL, he has come to know what this rivalry means to Toronto.
“That first game in Hamilton was different. No matter what league, you can feel a different level of intensity. It’s a rivalry game and there’s a different mind set going in,” Foster said after the team’s walkthrough on Friday.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of Hamilton fans as well as our fans and it’s going to be fun.”
There will be an intense atmosphere in the stands as there will definitely be a strong contingent of fans making their way across the QEW. It would be in the Argos best interest to make sure the crows is leaning in their favour early and obviously, the best way will be by getting some points on the board early.
On top of that, avoiding costly turnovers of failing to execute early on will just give the Tiger-Cats confidence and momentum. The Argos don’t want a repeat of Labour Day and can’t rely on performances like on Thanksgiving as something they can sustain.
Whichever way this game goes, these are the types of games that bring some much-needed attention and hopefully it shows that Argos do in fact “care” about this team.
What are your thoughts on the Argos game against the Tiger-Cats? What do they need to do to come out on top? Let us know in the comments below.