September 28, 2023

Game Preview | TOR vs WPG

Scene setter: 

The Blue Bombers and Argonauts meet for the first time this season in a showdown of division leaders and a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup. It will also be played in front of a third straight sold-out crowd at IG Field.

And while some of the sizzle might be gone from the matchup with the Argos apparently opting to start Cameron Dukes at QB to give Most Outstanding Player candidate Chad Kelly a bit of a breather, the Blue Bombers are still in a ferocious battle for the B.C. Lions for first in the West – Toronto has already locked up top spot in the East – so any potential advantage could be massive.

The Basics

Kickoff: Friday, 7 p.m. CDT; IG Field
TV: TSN 1, TSN 4 (Joined in progress), RDS.
U.S. and international live streaming:
Radio: 680 CJOB
Last meeting: This is the first meeting between the two clubs since the 109thGrey Cup last November 20th at Mosaic Stadium in Regina and a 24-23 win by the Argonauts.
PlayNow odds:  The Blue Bombers are favoured by 7.5 points. For more betting options on this game, click here.

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The QBs

  • Winnipeg will start Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 70-40 in his CFL career and 9-5 all-time in the regular season vs. the Argonauts, the team he broke into the league with back in 2012.
  • Toronto will start Cameron Dukes at QB. This will be his first CFL start.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 92-62. O’Shea’s 92 wins as Blue Bombers head coach now ranks him second all-time in franchise history behind only Grant (102). O’Shea’s teams are 9-6 vs. Toronto in the regular season.

O’Shea also ranks 12th all-time among head coaches with 80-plus games and seventh with a .597 winning percentage.
Toronto: Ryan Dinwiddie, the former Blue Bomber QB, has a career won-lost record of 32-13. His teams are 1-2 vs. Winnipeg in the regular season.

Blue Bombers Roster Notes

The Blue Bombers have made three changes to their depth chart this week, bringing on defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Thiadric Hansen, as well as defensive back Jake Kelly, with DE Celestin Haba, LB Les Maruo and DT Tanner Schmekel coming out of the lineup. All three players coming out were moved to the practice roster.

Hansen returns to the lineup for the first time this season as he hasn’t dressed since the 2022 Labour Day Classic after suffering an Achilles injury. Jeffcoat missed the loss in Hamilton before the bye week, while Kelly returns after dressing for the first six games of the year.

The six-game injured list includes WR/KR Janarion Grant, LBs Shayne Gauthier and Jared Beeksma, Dime Alden Darby, Jr., FB Mile Miller, WR Jeremy Murphy and CB Desmond Lawrence.

Blue Bomber Spotlight: Dalton Schoen, receiver

A couple of cool stats nuggets from the good folks at CFL HQ:

  • Schoen has reached the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first two seasons in the CFL, making him the first player to accomplish that feat since Derel Walker did it with Edmonton in 2015-16.
  • He’s also the third Blue Bomber receiver to go 1K-1K in his first two seasons after Perry Tuttle (1986-87) and James Murphy (1983-84).

Our chat with Schoen about his season, this week’s matchup with the Argos and more:

Scouting the Argonauts

The defending Grey Cup champions – and, yes, that still stings in these parts – have already clinched first in the East and are rolling along at 12-1. Essentially unchallenged in their division with second place Montreal at 7-7, they face a similar battle that the Blue Bombers have in the two previous seasons in trying to manage getting players rest without having rust form before the divisional final.

Kelly, their starting QB who will apparently dress but see limited if no action, is a legit Most Outstanding Player candidate with 3,396 passing yards, a 21:11 TD to interception differential and another 189 yards rushing and eight more scores. His favourite target has been DaVaris Daniels, who has 38 catches for 753 yards and seven TDs. The Argos rushing attack is led by AJ Ouellette, especially now with Andrew Harris on the six-game injured list, and his 868 yards rushing ranks third in the league.

Defensively, the Argos rank second to Winnipeg in points allowed at 21.4 per game, are first in sacks with 47 as Adarius Pickett leads the league with 112 defensive plays – including an amazing 40 tackles in his last four games — while Daniel Robertson is tied for second with four interceptions, behind league leader Demerio Houston (7) of the Blue Bombers.

The Argos have been dynamic on special teams, too, with Javon Leake having found the end zone four times on kick returns and with veteran Boris Bede leading the league with a 92.6 field goal percentage.

“All three phases play very, very well, so we expect their best,” said Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea of the Argos. “They’re a good football team. And if you shortchange anybody in this league, not just Toronto, and fail to execute it’s not going to look good.”


  • Nic Demski needs 69 yards receiving to reach the 1K mark for the first time in his career. The uniqueness of having Demski and Brady Oliveira – two Winnipeggers from the same high school reaching the 1K mark in the same season – would be a CFL first. Read more about that here.
  • Oliveira’s 1,144 yards rushing has him on a pace for 1,584 yards – a total which would be the second highest by a Canadian in league history to Jon Cornish’s 1,813-yard season with Calgary in 2013.


  • The Blue Bombers have not lost consecutive games since the end of 2021 when they were resting some regulars after having clinched first place., a span of 32 games. Also of note: Collaros is 7-0 in games after a loss since becoming the Blue Bombers starter.
  • The Argos and Bombers have split their last four meetings, but Winnipeg is 8-3 in its last 11 against Toronto and unbeaten in five at home head-to-head.
  • Winnipeg is 6-1 at home this year and has a five-game win streak since a June loss to B.C. and is 32-3 in its last 35 regular-season games at IG Field.


“To me this time of year is the transition to the playoffs. This is where you’ve got to alter your mindset. You’ve got to allow your body to get that extra rest, you’ve got to do more of the little things and come in here every single day, no matter if it’s with your teammates to get each other better or the opposition to earn a win. It’s about making sure you do everything you can in your role to make this team better.” – receiver Nic Demski.