Here is your answer
By Drew Edwards
[b]During the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' final on-field session before the Labour Day Classic, defensive tackle Bryan Hall wore the gold practice jersey belonging to quarterback Zach Collaros. The next day, Collaros strafed the Argos for 400 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-12 victory.
Not a coincidence, says Hall.
"Zach had a hell of game once I blessed myself into his jersey," Hall said Thursday, as he once again sported the rather snug-fitting No. 4. "I don't think he washes it all. I think he just lets my man-sweat of greatness soak into his jersey, then he goes out and plays great."
Collaros, Hall's man-sweat and the rest of the Ticats travel to Toronto on Friday for the backside of a home-and-home set, trying to accomplish something that's proven historically difficult to do: sweep both games.[/b]
The two teams have performed the Labour Day duo a half-dozen times since 2005 and the Ticats have yet to win both games: they've split the series three times and been swept on three other occasions. Hamilton is hardly alone: leaguewide, sweeps in back-to-back games only happens about 30 per cent of the time.
During Kent Austin's tenure, however, the Ticats have been mostly excellent in back-to-back games against the same opponent. They've been swept once, split once and delivered both wins three times — including a pair of must-win games against Montreal at the tail end of last season.
"We don't put a lot of focus on the other team, we try and monitor our expectations of our football team," the Ticat head coach/GM said. "We know the level we are capable of playing and we'll monitor that more than intensity of the other team.
"Players will naturally respond to (the intensity)."
Having been embarrassed on Labour Day, the Argos will be supremely motivated to not only restore their pride, but regain a share of the East Division lead. Hamilton already owns the season series between the two clubs, so Toronto can hardly afford to fall two games behind in the standings.
"Defensively, we definitely let them off the hook with a few things," said Toronto defensive end Ricky Foley. "If we had of watched the film and been like 'these guys just whupped us' and there was nothing we could do to stop it, that's a problem.
"After we watched the film, we realized that a lot of it was us."
Monday's affair was a chippy one with 31 total penalties called, included nine for unnecessary roughness, and the teams combined for another 30 during their first matchup in August (also a Ticat victory). As Labour Day slipped away, the Argos tried to get under Hamilton's skin, but Austin said his team has to be more disciplined.
"We talked about it right after the game. We don't want to be that team," Austin said. "We want to be a team that plays hard, plays aggressive, plays physical, but plays between the whistles and doesn't get caught up in those types of things."
Still, Austin acknowledges there's a fine line between protecting your teammate — as the Ticats were doing when they took three unnecessary roughness penalties after one play in the third quarter on Monday — and taking foolish flags.
"Listen, I was an emotional player and we understand as coaches that if something happens, it's hard not to retaliate," Austin said. "The most important thing is that the initial action should be curbed, so we don't have to worry about the subsequent action."
With the Ticats facing back-to-back games on short rest against a divisional opponent in desperation mode, it would be easy for Hamilton to let up just a little. The man in the golden jersey says that's not happening.
"We can make all the excuses in the world not to play well, but that's not what we do," Hall said. "We're looking forward to it."