Justin Holland said he was surprisingly calm when he took control of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence early in the second quarter.
"That was the first time I've been in a game atmosphere since my last year at Colorado State," Holland said. "I felt calm, I felt good. We had a few penalties here and there, so it didn't allow us to get going, but even that helped a little bit.
"I calmed down, and we got the thing going."
Did they ever.
And they have Holland to thank for it.
The 24-year-old found Terrence Edwards on a 78-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second quarter and then marched the Bombers on a 16-play, 94-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown strike to Kerry Johnson late in the third.
Two plays on the drive, including the Johnson major, came on third down, which impressed the heck out of Edwards.
"He's good, a strong-armed guy. He's real strong," Edwards said. "He's smart, he's savvy, and he's going to be pretty good in this league. Two touchdowns, and he led us on that 94-yard drive.
"You don't find that from a lot of young guys. He didn't crack under pressure. He made the right reads and the right throws."
Holland was not happy with the interception he threw late in the second quarter that resulted in a Hamilton touchdown.
He also felt that he was simply in the right place at the right time.
"All the quarterbacks up here are talented, and if they had some of the opportunities that I had to get a drive rolling like we did when we came out of half-time ... that 16-play drive was a great drive for us," he said.
"If the other quarterbacks had an opportunity to get some of those plays going, I think they could have done the same thing maybe a little bit better."
MAKING A PUSH: Two of Winnipeg's best defensive players last night are hopefuls who are playing behind established starters.
Middle linebacker Kai Parham was all over the field in the first quarter, forcing Ticats quarterback Shaun King to hurry three of his passes.
Unfortunately for Parham, the Bombers already employ Barrin Simpson, the reigning East Division defensive player of the year, at middle linebacker.
Backup defensive end Stevie Baggs, meanwhile, was a menace to start the second half. Playing at Gavin Walls' rush end spot, Baggs recorded four tackles, a pass knockdown and was generally making life difficult for Hamilton's offensive line.
LATE HITS: Veteran Bombers guard Val St. Germain was forced to play left tackle last night because of injuries. He committed three illegal procedure penalties and one holding infraction ... The Ticats look like they have a keeper in quarterback Timmy Chang, who completed 10 of 17 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns ... Brian Guebert, a 5-foot-9 defensive lineman out of the University of Saskatchewan, had the lone sack for the Bombers ... Winnipeg veterans Milt Stegall, Charles Roberts, Kevin Glenn, Derick Armstrong and Simpson sat out last night's contest ... The Bombers play their second and final pre-season game next Friday night in Hamilton.