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November 19, 2021

Game Preview | WPG at CGY

#18 Dru Brown

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (11-2) at CALGARY STAMPEDERS (7-6)

THE 4-1-1

Kickoff: Saturday, 6 p.m. CST, McMahon Stadium, Calgary.
TV: TSN 3/5, ESPN+, BT Sport 3, Yare
Radio: 680 CJOB; Sirius XM (Canada Talks, channel 167)
BetRegal.ca odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by 4 points
Streaks: Winnipeg: 1L. Calgary: 2W
Home/Road: The Bombers are 4-2 on the road this season. The Stampeders are 2-4 at home
Head to head: This is the second meeting between the Bombers and Stampeders this year, with Winnipeg scratching out an 18-16 victory at IG Field back on August 29. The Bombers are 5-5 in their last 10 regular-season games vs. Calgary

The QBs

  • The Bombers will start Zach Collaros. He is the Bombers Most Outstanding Player candidate and the front-runner for the league award. He is 46-33-0 in his career as a starter, including 15-1 as a Blue Bomber. Collaros is 3-1 lifetime vs. Calgary.
  • The Stampeders counter with Bo Levi Mitchell. He is 83-22-2 in his career and 11-3 lifetime vs. Winnipeg.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea: 67-54; vs. Calgary: 6-10

Calgary: Dave Dickenson: 60-23-2; vs. Wpg.: 6-5

Blue Roster Shuffle

The Bombers have made seven roster changes for this week. Coming on are QB Zach Collaros, S Brandon Alexander, DB Nick Taylor, OL Pat Neufeld, DT Steven Richardson, LB Robbie Lowes and LB Ayo Oyelola. Off are WR Darvin Adams, RB Brady Oliveira, DB Noah Hallett, LB Jesse Briggs, LB Kevin Brown, OL Drew Richmond and DT Ricky Walker

As well, while the Bombers list QB Sean McGuire on their depth chart, their Friday injury report lists him as out. The Bombers secondary is still without DB Deatrick Nichols, while DE Jackson Jeffcoat will miss a second straight game. Kenny Lawler is listed at Adams’ WR spot, with Kelvin McKnight starting at SB.

With Oliveira out and Andrew Harris yet to return to practice, Johnny Augustine will start at RB and be backed up by Shaq Cooper. Winnipeg also has eight OL dressed – their regular starting crew of Stanley Bryant, Drew Desjarlais, Michael Couture, Pat Neufeld and Jermarcus Hardrick, along with Geoff Gray, Tui Eli and Chris Kolankowski.

3 Bombers to Watch

#8 Zach Collaros, QB: The Bombers’ MOP will take the first snap and get a few series, but the club isn’t locked into to a specific snap count for their No. 1 pivot.

“(Head coach Mike O’Shea) and I talked about it and I’m sure we’ll be talking throughout the game,” said Collaros of how much playing time he might get. “We’ll see how many drives it is and take it from there. I kinda told him, ‘If I play, I want to play the whole time.’ He was ‘Well, you’re not going to do that.’

“… We’ll see how it goes. Talking with Osh we just decided this was the best course of action to handle the situation. In my career we’ve had a lot of experience against Calgary as well as Saskatchewan, so whoever it’s going to be I’ll feel comfortable with. It will just be good to be out there with the guys and compete.”

#27 Johnny Augustine, RB: Augustine will start on Saturday with Andrew Harris still injured and Brady Oliveira nursing an ankle injury and be backed up by Shaq Cooper. The veteran tailback has a gaudy 8.1-yard average on 17 carries this year and a sparking 6.9-yard average in spot duty over his career.

#30 Winston Rose, CB: The veteran corner was hard on himself in his social-media accounts after last week’s game in which Eugene Lewis scored twice on his side – both on perfect spot throws by Trevor Harris.

“Winston… one of the reasons that he’s been so successful in the Canadian Football League is because he holds himself to such a high standard,” said Bombers secondary coach Jordan Younger. “He didn’t have the outcome he wanted on a couple of plays in the Montreal game and he’s voiced that. The goal now is to go out this week and if he gets those opportunities again learn from those experiences and correct those mistakes.”

X Factor

#51 Dru Brown, QB: The rookie pivot will come off the bench at some point on Saturday. And, as with the case with any new QB, there comes a certain fascination in that.

“We kept him for a reason,” said O’Shea when asked about Brown. “I think he is a leader and that’s extremely important at that position.”

3 Notable Numbers

1.31

Average points per game surrendered by the Bombers in the fourth quarters this season. Winnipeg has allowed just 17 points in 13 fourth quarters this year, the lowest in CFL history. If they surrender seven points or less on Saturday that will set a new league record.

+106

Winnipeg has outscored its opponents by 106 points in the fourth quarter – 123-17

.785

Bo Levi Mitchell’s career winning percentage on a 82-22-2 record, including 11-3 vs. Winnipeg.

Milestone Watch

  • Kenny Lawler needs 27 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. More on Lawler here.
  • Nic Demski has a career-high 637 receiving yards this year and is currently riding a 23-game streak with at least one catch.

Quotable

“It takes some getting used to. But it’s the culture, it feels like. If you want to play at this time, in this city, you’ve got to get used to it. We have a good group of guys that go out there and just love playing at this time of year. And if you want to play at this time of year, if you love playing at this time of year this is what comes with it, this cold weather. So get used to it.” – Bombers WR Kenny Lawler on playing in the cold weather.

FYI

  • The Bombers announced late Thursday that veteran WR Naaman Roosevelt had been released. Here’s O’Shea on that: “He came and said he was done, he wanted to retire. Listen, I wish we could have done more for him. When he was brought in he was brought in for a purpose – we had guys down and injured and we needed some relief in that regard and then we never got him a chance off the PR. I do feel bad because he’s highly-skilled, he’s played a lot of different football and had a lot of different experiences. A helluva good pro.”
  • The Bombers field-goal percentage this season stands at 59.4, the lowest since Ottawa was 52.4 in 2004.
  • Last week’s Stampeder win over B.C. clinched a playoff spot for the 16thstraight season. In that game Mitchell threw three TDs and Reggie Begelton finished with seven receptions for 119 yards in his return to the Stamps from the NFL.