HAMILTON -- It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Case in point: Quarterback Michael Bishop.
After only five practices, with an Arena League skills competition sandwiched in between, Bishop had his first taste of the 2005 CFL pre-season last night facing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
And while he struggled coming off the bench during the third quarter, in which he threw a touchdown pass but also had two interceptions and was flagged for throwing a pass beyond the line of scrimmage, he made amends in the fourth quarter by throwing the winning touchdown pass in the Argos 34-31 victory.
The Argos finished the pre-season with a win and a tie, including their 16-16 deadlock with the Tiger-Cats last Saturday in Halifax.
The Argos open at home a week from tonight against the B.C. Lions in a rematch of last year's Grey Cup, which Toronto won.
Hamilton opens the regular season this Wednesday on the road against the Montreal Alouettes.
Nearing the end of the third quarter, Bishop threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver R. Jay Soward, but had to give way in the fourth quarter to Scott Covington, who is bidding to become the third-stringer.
After an interception by the Argos later in the quarter, Bishop asked for and received the opportunity to re-enter the game.
He made good on the opportunity by throwing a 21-yard touchdown pass to receiver Lal Knight, who extended his route to the goal line on a Hamilton blitz and made an athletic catch for the major.
"I knew how long I was going to play and I felt like I was just getting into the groove or just getting loose when it was my turn to come out," Bishop said. "They let me go back in and I knew if I could lead us to a touchdown or even get us closer to the score it would be a good thing. I felt good about the situation and I felt good about them giving me the opportunity to go out and win the game and we did it."
Rookie running back Hakim Hill made another statement for why he should not only survive today's final cuts but also be included on the starting roster, scoring on a screen pass from quarterback Damon Allen. The play covered 51 yards.
"It was just read a block and run," Hill said. "It wasn't much to it. It was a great call by (offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin)."
The Argos started off with a fumble on the opening kickoff and turned the ball over five times by the time rookie quarterback Charlie Peterson gave way to Allen, with Hamilton leading 24-3 with just under five minutes to go in the second quarter.
Allen put together two impressive touchdown drives, ending one with a one-yard run.
Kicker Noel Prefontaine had two field goals and completed a successful pass on a third-down gamble.