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Game Preview | SSK vs WPG

SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (6-8) at WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (12-2)

THE 4-1-1

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m. CDT, IG Field, Winnipeg.
TV: TSN; ESPN+
Radio: 680 CJOB
Home/Road: The Blue Bombers have the best home record in the CFL this season at 5-1 and are 23-2 at IG Field, including playoffs, dating back to 2018. The Roughriders, meanwhile, are 3-3 on the road. Including the 2019 and 2021 Western Finals, the Blue Bombers have now won six straight against Saskatchewan.
BetRegal.ca odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by 8 points. For more of Bet Regal’s numbers on this game, click here.
Streaks: Winnipeg: 1L; Saskatchewan: 3L.
Notable: A win tonight or a Calgary loss – the Stamps host Toronto on Saturday – and the Blue Bombers will clinch a home playoff date.
Special night: Friday is the Blue Bombers now annual Truth and Reconciliation game. Both teams will wear special orange New Era jerseys for the pre-game, which will then be made available via outline auction after the game at with the fund raised donated to the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre. The Blue Bombers will also wear the star blanket logo that was created last year on their helmets for the game. As well, 1,000 members of the Indigenous community will be flown in and hosted for the game. The national ahem will be sung in Ojibwe by Strong Warrior Girls Anishinaabe Singers, while Pow wow singers, dancers and drummers will lead the team onto the field prior to kickoff. Leaders from the Indigenous Community will also take part in the coin toss.

The QBs

  • Saskatchewan starts Cody Fajardo at QB. He is 27-15 as a starter and 2-5 vs. Winnipeg in the regular season.
  • Winnipeg lines up Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 58-36 in his career and 29-4 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 79-57. O’Shea’s 79 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).

Saskatchewan: Craig Dickenson is 28-18 as a head coach in the CFL and 2-5 vs. Winnipeg in the regular season.

Blue Roster Shuffle

The Bombers depth chart features just one change from the loss in Hamilton prior to the bye week. Coming aboard is DE Cedric Wilcots II as he replaced Jackson Jeffcoat, who has been moved to the one-game injured list.

“We liked him last year, too, he just didn’t make it out of camp,” said Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea of Wilcots II. “He understands what we want to do, he’s a good pass rusher, he gets off the ball – very good get-off. He’s got a relentlessness to him and that’s what we need.”

Of note: veteran left tackle Stanley Bryant did not practice on Monday and Tuesday of this week, with Wednesday’s session closed to the media. But he will suit up against the Riders.

BLUE BOMBERS SPOTLIGHTDE Cedric Wilcots II

Wilcots II has suited up for nine games this year with two starts – both for Jeffocat – and has two tackles. Wilcots II was with the Blue Bombers in training camp last year and was re-signed on December 31st. He played his college ball at New Mexico State, finishing with the fourth-most sacks in school history, and also had a stint with the Blues in The Spring League in 2020.

“I’m light years from where I was (at the beginning of the year) in just getting used to the Canadian game – the rules, the ins and outs. Jackson and Willie (Jefferson) have really trained my eyes to know what to see and expect.

“Coming up here is a whole new world. You’ve got to have your ears open and your eyes wide to see everything and know what’s coming at you. Even before you step up, you’ve got to have that (next man up) mentality. If I’m on the field, I’m a guy the team is depending on. The ‘next man up’ mentality is around the whole locker room. There’s 1s, there’s 2s (starters, reserves) but once you’re on the field, you’re the guy.”

NOTABLE

  • Zach Collaros is in a streak of 11 consecutive games throwing at least one TD pass. That’s the sixth-longest in franchise history after Dieter Brock (23), Khari Jones (18), Matt Dunigan (18), Tom Clements (15) and Jack Jacobs (15).
  • Nic Demski needs just five receiving yards to hit 3,000 for his career.
  • The Blue Bombers 48-31 loss to Hamilton was the largest since a 20-point loss (33-13) to the Ticats on September 17, 2019.
  • The Blue Bombers are 9-1 coming off a bye week since 2017, while Saskatchewan – also coming off a bye this week – is 7-2.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Zach Collaros now needs 406 passing to move past Roy Dewalt into 24th place on the CFL’s all-time passing yardage list. Dewalt finished his career at 24,147 yards; Collaros is at 23,742.
  • Adam Bighill needs just two tackles to move past Eddie Davis into seventh place on the CFL’s all-time list. Bighill is at 800; Davis retired in 2009 with 801.
  • With 988 yards on 53 receptions, Dalton Schoen needs 12 yards to be the seventh first-year receiver in franchise history to crack the 1,000-yard mark. The others: Perry Tuttle (1,373 in 1986); Romby Bryant (1,206 in 2008); Chris Matthews (1,192 in 2012); James Murphy (1,126 in 1983); Bb Larose (1,080 in 1971) and Neill Armstrong (1,024 in 1951).

FYI

In the last four regular season meetings between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan – all Blue Bombers wins – the guys in blue and gold are +8 in the turnover ratio and have 14 sacks to four for the Roughriders.

ICYMI

Rasheed Bailey spoke openly and honestly about a shooting this week just outside his high school in Philadelphia.

Zach Collaros on what he and his teammates can do in support:

“It’s just like with a family member; like a brother,” he said. “Those situations are never easy and it’s something you never want to happen so close to a place you grew up, a place you went to school.

“It’s just communicating with Rasheed, being there for him and saying ‘Hey, talk to me if you need to talk to me.’ Rasheed knows he’s got a lot of love in that locker room for him and he can depend on everybody – the players, the coaching staff, everybody in the organization.”