August 17, 2023

Game Preview | WPG at CGY

Scene setter: 

The Blue Bombers (7-2) and Stampeders (3-6) reached the midway point of the season last week moving in opposite directions. Winnipeg is on a three-game heater since the shocking collapse in Ottawa, including last week’s 38-29 win in Edmonton in which Dru Brown came off the bench to throw for 300 yards and four TDs – erasing a 22-0 deficit in the process. The Stamps, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four, including last week’s 37-9 mauling by the B.C. Lions.

The big news heading into this one is Brown getting the start for Zach Collaros, who did not practice all week.

The Basics

Kickoff: Friday, 8 p.m. CDT; McMahon Stadium, Calgary
U.S. and international live streaming:
Radio: 680 CJOB
Last meeting: July 7, 2023, at IG Field: Winnipeg 24 Calgary 11. Winnipeg has won four straight against the Stamps dating to 2021 and eight of the last 10 meetings. The Blue Bombers are 3-1 on the road this year. Calgary is 1-3 at home this season.
PlayNow odds:  The Blue Bombers are favoured by six points. For more betting options on this game, click here.

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The QBs

  • Winnipeg will start Dru Brown behind centre. This will be his first start of 2023 and just the second in his CFL career. He made his first start last October in a 40-32 loss to the B.C. Lions in Vancouver in which the club rested three starting O-linemen. In that game Brown threw for 325 yards and three TDs against two interceptions.
  • Calgary will start Jake Maier. He is 10-11 as a starter in the CFL and 0-3 in his career against the Blue Bombers.

The Coaches

  • Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 89-60. O’Shea’s 89 wins as a Blue Bombers head coach now ranks him second all-time in franchise history behind only Grant (102). O’Shea’s teams are 10-11 vs. Calgary in the regular season.
  • Calgary: Dave Dickenson is 76-35-2 during his days as Stampeders boss and 7-9 vs. the Blue Bombers.

Blue Bomber Roster Notes

  • The Blue Bombers have not made a single change to the roster again this week, although the Brown/Collaros is a significant development.
  • The injured lists remain the same, with DB Jamal Parker on the one-game, and the six-game including LBs Malik Clements, Shayne Gauthier and Jared Beeksma, FB Mike Miller, DEs Thiadric Hansen and Celestin Haba, KR/WR Janarion Grant and CB Desmond Lawrence. Lawrence and Gauthier, FYI, have both returned to practice.

Blue Bomber Spotlight: Brady Oliveira

Winnipeg’s own leads the CFL in rushing with 703 yards along the ground and is also first in the league with 977 yards from scrimmage – almost 300 yards more than No. 2 on that list, Hamilton’s James Butler at 683. Coming off his first 1,000-yard season a year ago, Oliveira’s game continues to get better – and he just celebrated his 26th birthday this week.

“I take pride in being an every-down back and being able to do it all,” said Oliveira. “Not just running the ball, but I truly take pride in blocking and running routes out of the backfield and catching the football, getting YAC (yards after catch) and making people miss.

“I do really take pride in that and it shows that I’m not just a runner and that I can really do it all in this league and I can separate myself from the good running backs and be one of the greats one day. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”

The full interview from our chat with Oliveira is here:

Scouting the Stampeders

The Stamps were pummelled in their loss to the Lions and the offence has been under the microscope of late. Over the last three games the attack has just one TD and 11 field goals, while Jake Maier has been held to under 150 yards passing in each of the last two games and has an 8:11 touchdowns to interceptions differential. His QB efficiency rating of 78.7 ranks ahead of only Taylor Cornelius of Edmonton (66.9) among pivots whose numbers qualify so far this season.

Calgary ranks fifth in rushing with 95.3 yards per game and did get a boost last week with Ka’Deem Carey’s return to the lineup. He had just seven carries for 44 yards but does make for a dangerous combo along with Dedrick Mills, who is third in the CFL with 517 yards rushing.
The Stamps defence is sixth in points allowed (26.2) but is tied with the Blue Bombers for second in the CFL with 28 sacks (Toronto has 29).

“With Ka’Deem Carey back, they’ve established themselves as a team that can run and will run the ball very well,” said Blue Bombers coach Mike O’Shea. “They’re very well coached, so they’re going to be right a lot and their plans are going to be good. They’re just good. Honestly, you look at their injury list and they’ve just been bit by a massive injury bug. They’re not making any excuses. They’re a good football team. They’re strong across the board. If you’re going to take them lightly, you’re going to be in trouble.”


  • From the CFL’s crew: for just the second time in the last 20 years the Blue Bombers have had consecutive games with four passing TDs. It happened once last season, but not prior to that dating to 2002. No Blue Bombers team in its history has gone three games in a row with four TDs passing.
  • Winnipeg’s 22-point comeback last week was second only to a 27-point rally in a 46-44 win over Hamilton in October of 1994, a game in which the club trailed 41-14 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
  • The Blue Bombers are on pace for a seventh straight winning season. That’s happened only twice before in franchise history: from 1956-62 and 1980-87.


  • Dru Brown’s 307-yard effort in relief last week made him the third Winnipeg QB to eclipse the 300-yard mark in a game he did not start. The others: Keithen McCant (312 in 1994) and Khari Jones (304 in 2003).
  • Nic Demski has a receiving TD in each of his last four games. He had a six-game TD streak a year ago.