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August 11, 2022

Game Preview | MTL vs WPG

GAME #10 | MONTREAL ALOUETTES (2-6) at WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (9-0)

THE 4-1-1

Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. IG Field, Winnipeg
TV: TSN; ESPN+
Radio: 680 CJOB
Home/Road: The Blue Bombers are 3-0 at home this year with victories over Ottawa, Hamilton and Calgary. Montreal is 1-4 on the road in 2022, with three of those losses coming by a TD or less.
BetRegal.ca odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by 11.5 points. For more of Bet Regal’s numbers on this game, click here.
Streaks: Winnipeg: 9W; Montreal: 2L.
Heads up:

 

Take note: The Blue Bombers have been 9-0 to start a season just twice in franchise history – this year and 1960 when they rocketed to a 10-0 start before finishing 14-2.

Take note II: Six teams in CFL history have made it to 10-0 – the 1948 Calgary Stampeders (12-0), the 1949 Stampeders (10-0), 1955 Edmonton (10-0), 1960 Blue Bombers (10-0), 1993 Stampeders (10-0) and the 2005 B.C. Lions (11-0).

The QBs

  • Montreal starts veteran pivot Trevor Harris. He is 42-43-2 in his career and 3-7 in his career in starts vs. Winnipeg.
  • Winnipeg lines up Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 55-34 in his career and now a remarkable 26-2 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 76-55. O’Shea’s 75 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).

Montreal: Danny Maciocia has a career record of 34-41-1 in his days as a head coach, first in Edmonton and now with the Alouettes. The club is 1-3 since Maciocia, also the GM, fired Khari Jones and defensive coordinator Barron Miles.

Blue Roster Shuffle

The Bombers depth chart features just one change from last week. Coming aboard is receiver Greg Ellingson. Off is receiver Tavaris Harrison.

Ellingson was leading the CFL in receiving when he was first injured and even after missing three games is still 8th in the league in receiving yards with 518 on 34 receptions.

 “It’s always good to get back out here. It’s tough to sit on the sideline and watch the guys battle, but we’ve got a deep team and it’s the next-man up mentality around here, so it’s 1-0 each week,” Ellingson said Wednesday after the team’s walk-through practice.

“As a competitor you always want to be out there, especially with the guys you’re out there battling with in camp and in the meeting rooms with all the time. That’s their decision, right? It’s my job to get back on the field, go to treatment and then make sure I’m ready to play whenever I can.

“Three weeks off… it’s not so fun sitting on the sidelines, so I’m happy to get back out there and it should be fun.”

THE ELLINGSON EFFECT

Ellingson’s impact can’t be measured in just receptions and yardage. In his seven games he had already re-established a chemistry with Collaros. Even with his three games out, he still is tied for third in the CFL in second-down conversion catches with 15.

“He’s another target who has basically seen it all,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “I think what you saw was it was pretty easy for him and Zach to get on the same page. They saw the pictures the same way in the meeting room and the way they talk about how they see things… anybody’s that played that many games and had that many catches and had that many yards, there’s probably a pretty quick understanding of how he thinks, and the trust is easily developed, I’m sure.”

“He’s a great teammate, great for the room,” Collaros added. “He keeps things light, so I think he’s going to be a great addition from that standpoint. He’s experienced, he’s been in many situations, not just from a coverage recognition standpoint, but from a situational football awareness standpoint he has a really high football IQ. Having him out there is like having another Nik (Demski) or Woli (Drew Wolitarsky), so it’s huge.”

BLUE BOMBER SPOTLIGHTDT Ricky Walker

The second-year Blue Bomber dressed for just the third time this season in last week’s win in Montreal and was a force, finishing the game with two tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack as part of the club’s defensive line rotation.

Walker has two sacks in his 10 games over the last two years and the energy he brought to the Dark Side defence last week was obvious.

“When you look at the way our roster was structured or with the ways things have been with injuries, we had two ‘fresh’ guys come in last week in Jackson (Jeffcoat) and Ricky,” said defensive coordinator Richie Hall. “Ricky had that extra energy and he really brought it to our team. I’m not making excuses, but we’ve been on a long stretch here and we hadn’t had a break of significance since the season started, so any time you can get some fresh legs in there it can be important. You saw the difference with Jackson and Ricky.

“It’s part of why we have a good football team – we have such good depth.”

FYI

  • This is the second of a home-and-home for the Blue Bombers and Alouettes and the sixth time they will engage in back-to-back games with each other. Montréal has the only sweep (2003), with the other four being splits.
  • The Blue Bombers 104-yard drive last week – capped by a Collaros-to-Dalton Schoen score – was the longest TD drive in the CFL this season. It covered the 104 yards in eight plays and took four minutes and 41 seconds off the clock.

STRANGE, BUT TRUE

The Blue Bombers have committed six turnovers in the last three games, but their opponents have turned them into just a single field goal.

NOTABLE

Alouettes receiver Eugene Lewis leads the CFL in receptions (45), yardage (742) and targets (77). He has been targeted 30 times over Montreal’s last two games, including 15 last week – a game in which he finished with nine catches for 123 yards, with 43 yards coming in the last drive with the Blue Bombers up by 14.

“It’s about just playing tough defence and mixing up your coverages,” said Hall of defending Lewis. “You can’t stop them from targeting him and throwing him the football. The five-yard hitches and stuff like that… that’s football. You give up something and minimize the gain.”

QUOTABLE

“The score was 14-all going into the fourth. That’s as tough a game as we were playing. The guys know it. It was physical. You could see they were drained after that game and it wasn’t just the humidity or the heat, it was the battle that was going on the field. They took the ball away early and often, created those plays – as Richie Hall says they were takeaways, we didn’t just give them the ball, they took it away. They forced fumbles, they jumped in front of passes. It’s a tough game. We know we’re in for another good one here.”

– Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea on last week’s game in Montreal and the rematch tonight at IG Field.