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July 15, 2022

Game Preview | CGY at WPG

GAME #6 | CALGARY STAMPEDERS (4-0) at WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (5-0)

THE 4-1-1

Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m. CT, IG Field, Winnipeg
TV: TSN; ESPN+
Radio: 680 CJOB
Home/Road: The Blue Bombers are 2-0 at home this year after victories over Ottawa and Hamilton. Winnipeg is on a remarkable run at IG Field of late, having gone 22-1 in its last 23 games on home turf, including last year’s Western Final. That’s the best stretch at home since a 27-1 mark from 1983-86. The Stamps are 2-0 on the road, including last week’s 49-6 drubbing of the Elks in Edmonton and a 33-30 victory over the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton.
BetRegal.ca odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by 3.5 points. For more of Bet Regal’s numbers on this game, click here.
Streaks: Winnipeg: 5W; Calgary.: 4W.
Notable: The Blue Bombers and Stampeders have split their last 10 meetings. Calgary is 0-4 in last four visits to Winnipeg dating back to 2017.

The QBs

  • Calgary will start veteran Bo Levi Mitchell. He is the CFL’s all-time leader among QBs in winning percentage at .795 (88-22-2) and is 12-3 in his career in regular season games vs. Winnipeg.
  • Winnipeg lines up Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 51-34 in his career and now a remarkable 22-2 in his games as a starter in Winnipeg, including playoffs and two Grey Cup victories.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 72-55. O’Shea’s 72 wins as a Blue Bombers head coach ranks third on the club’s all-time list, behind only Bud Grant (102) and Cal Murphy (86).

Calgary: Dave Dickenson is 65-23-2 and 7-5 vs. the Blue Bombers.

Blue Roster Shuffle

The Bombers depth chart features three changes from last week. Coming aboard are receiver Carlton Agudosi, DB Jamal Parker and LB/DB Cedrick Lavigne. Off are receiver Brendan O’Leary-Orange, who was moved to the six-game injured list on Wednesday, along with DB Evan Holm and DE L.B. Mack III.

BLUE BOMBER SPOTLIGHTReceiver Carlton Agudosi

He’s a huge target at 6-6 and makes his CFL debut after spending last year and the first chunk of this season on the practice roster.

“I’m excited for him,” said Collaros of Agudosi on Thursday. “He’s worked very hard these last couple seasons and has really been someone that stood out for us in the scout-team stuff.

“He’s a really hard worker, smart guy, and he understands where we’re trying to go offensively. It’s a big game for him. He does a good job of high-pointing the football and just route-running in general. I’m sure we’ll have some things dialled up for him and he’ll make a play.”

FYI

  • Strange but true – and courtesy the CFL’s stats department – as it relates to Janarion Grant’s opening-kickoff return TD last week: there have been just 12 opening play TDs in the CFL, with Blue Bombers having scored half of them – Mack Herron in 1972, James Jefferson in 1988, Markus Howell in 2000, Ryan Lankford in 2017, Lucky Whitehead in 2019 and now Grant.
  • CFL teams receiving the opening kickoff to start the game have gone 10-2 over the last 12 games.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Greg Ellingson’s consecutive games streak with at least one reception now stands at 75. He has 8,318 career receiving yards and needs just 46 more to move past Andy Fantuz into 35th spot on the CFL’s all-time list.
  • LB Adam Bighill needs four more tackles to pass former Blue Bombers LB Greg Battle and move into eighth place on the CFL’s all-time list. Bighill is at 763, Battle retired with 766 career tackles.

NOTABLE

  • The Blue Bombers hold a +35-scoring advantage in first quarters this year, out-scoring their opponents 48-13.
  • Winnipeg and Calgary love making teams pay for their mistakes – the Blue Bombes have scored 49 points off opponents’ turnovers, while their opposition has just one field goal; Calgary has 59 points off turnovers.

IT’S ALIVE!

The Blue Bombers rushed for a season-high 141 yards in last week’s win in Vancouver, boosting their average to 90.6 yards – now fourth in the CFL.

“It was a group effort… it wasn’t just one thing or one person,” said right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick earlier this week. “We know every week won’t be like that, but that felt like us.

“It takes time. We’ve got to learn each other a little bit more – we’ve got to know when a guy’s going to cut, got to know when a guy’s going to finish a block… all that comes when with playing each other. I hope it comes when we need it, especially later in the season.”

B.A. UPDATE

CFL All-Star safety Brandon Alexander has yet to suit up for the Blue Bombers this year after undergoing offseason surgery. But his presence is still a powerful one.

“He’s still excellent,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “He’s unbelievable with our group. He meets with guys all the time to make sure they’re ready. He puts in extra work with all the players, all the defensive backs, to make sure they’re ready.

“He’s stayed involved. I know he’s itching to get back on the field, but that will happen when it happens. I can’t give you a firm date on that but, in the meantime, he’s been nothing short of sensational in terms of helping out his teammates.”

QUOTABLE

“It’s still really early in the season. I don’t know what kind of ribbon you get for being unbeaten in Week 6. I don’t know that really matters. It should be an exciting matchup and good for the CFL and good for the fans.” – O’Shea on the matchup with Calgary.