June 21, 2023

Game Preview | BC vs WPG

Scene setter:

Buckle in for an early season West Division showdown featuring the same two teams who met in last year’s divisional finale in the exact same locale.

Winnipeg is 2-0 after wins over Hamilton and Saskatchewan; B.C.’s perfect start comes following victories against Calgary and Edmonton. This is the first of three meetings between the two clubs in the regular season, with the Lions returning on August 3rd and the Blue Bombers heading to Vancouver on October 6th for what will be their 16th game.

The Basics

Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. IG Field, Winnipeg
Tickets: available here
TV: TSN 1/3
International live streaming:
Radio: 680 CJOB, CFL on Sirius
Last meeting: November 13, 2022 – Western Final: Winnipeg 28 B.C. 20
PlayNow odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by six points

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The QBs

  • Winnipeg lines up Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 63-36 in his career and now a remarkable 35-5 in his games as a starter in Winnipeg, including playoffs and two Grey Cup victories. Collaros is 9-2 in his career vs. B.C., including a perfect 4-0 mark as a Blue Bomber.
  • B.C.’s starter is Vernon Adams, Jr. He has a career win-loss record of 21-14 during his days with B.C. and Montreal (he played in 11 games with Saskatchewan in 2017 but did not start) and is 2-1 all-time vs. Winnipeg.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 84-58. O’Shea’s 84 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). His 84 coaching victories now ranks him in a tie for 12th overall in CFL history with Tom Higgins (Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, 2001-15). Number 11 on the all-time list is Murphy, with 99.

B.C.: Rick Campbell is 63-77-2 all-time as a head coach with Ottawa and B.C. He is 19-15 into his third season now with the Lions.

Blue Bomber Roster Notes

The Blue Bombers depth chart features one – and potentially two – changes. Abu Daramy-Swaray will dress and make his first career start for Demerio Houston at cornerback. Houston missed practice this week for what is being called ‘non-injury related’ circumstances.

Daramy-Swaray has a helluva back story, one we told during training camp. To read up on the new corner, click here.

As well, running back Brady Oliveira is being listed as ‘GTD’ – Game Time Decision. Oliveira left last week’s win over Saskatchewan midway through a fourth quarter drive and was replaced by veteran Johnny Augustine, who finished the game rushing six times for 31 yards.

Augustine is listed as the lone back behind Oliveira on the depth chart, but the club is also taking DT Miles Fox off the roster this week, leaving the possibility American Greg McCrae could be activated for RB depth. Augustine, FYI, has made three career starts for the Blue Bombers with the most recent coming in the 2021 regular-season finale in Calgary.

Blue Bomber Spotlight: Dalton Schoen, receiver

The CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2022 is hardly suffering through a sophomore slump. Schoen leads the CFL with 205 receiving yards on 13 receptions and is coming off a game in which he pulled in eight passes for 145 yards and a TD in the win over Saskatchewan.

And, just like last year, Schoen has been dynamite in converting second-down opportunities. Get this: seven of his 13 receptions have converted second downs.

Schoen spoke about that, amongst other subjects, in this interview:

Scouting the Lions

The Lions carry a great deal of momentum into ’23 after last year’s 12-6 regular season that ended with the Western Final loss to the Blue Bombers and even with the departure of QB1 Nathan Rourke to the Jacksonville Jaguars over the winter.

Adams, Jr. gives B.C. a veteran presence behind centre and Dane Evans, the No. 2 pivot, could clearly start for a handful of squads across the league.

B.C. has a wide array of receiving weapons, including the explosive Dominique Rhymes, who has three TDs and 172 receiving yards through their two wins to open the year.

The Lions defence has been stout this year, shutting out the Edmonton Elks 22-0 last week and limiting Calgary to just 15 points in a Week 1 25-15 victory. The blanking of the Elks was the third in Lions franchise history and the first since shutout since a 30-0 win over Toronto in August of 1977. B.C.’s ‘D’ limited Edmonton to just 149 net yards. B.C. has allowed just one TD drive in 25 possessions by the Elks and Stamps.


  • The Blue Bombers have won six of their last seven vs. B.C., with Vernon Adams, Jr. leading the Lions in the lone win last October in a game in which both teams rested regulars and Winnipeg starting Dru Brown at QB.
  • A win for the Lions would mean they would open at 3-0 for a second consecutive season, something the club hasn’t accomplished since 1994-95.

Milestone Watch

  • Zach Collaros moved into 10th place on the Blue Bombers all-time passing yardage list last week and now sits at 8,236 in Winnipeg colours. Numbers 1-9 on that list: Dieter Brock (29,623), Khari Jones (20,175), Kevin Glenn (18,116), Ken Ploen (16,470), Matt Nichols (14,977), Tom Clements (14,917), Don Jonas (12,291), Matt Dunigan (11,503) and Jack Jacobs (11,094). Collaros is also at 24,994 career passing yards in the CFL, including his days with Toronto, Hamilton, and Saskatchewan.
  • Willie Jefferson’s next sack will be the 60th of his career. He had one pass knockdowns last week to increase his career total to 57.
  • Adam Bighill has 826 tackles in his career and needs eight more to pass Solomon Elimimian (833) for 6th place on the CFL’s all-time list.