October 26, 2023

Game Preview | WPG at CGY

Scene setter: 

The Blue Bombers and Stampeders meet in a game which will have no impact on the final standings – Winnipeg having clinched first place in the West Division and a first-round bye in the playoffs; Calgary will be off to Vancouver to meet the B.C. Lions in the West Semi-Final.

There are some significant roster changes with Winnipeg opting to rest 10 starters (see below) and expect both teams to be cautious with some of their regulars in this one, opting to limit their reps in advance of the postseason, all of which will give this a preseason feel – in late October.

The Basics

Kickoff: Friday, 8 p.m. CDT; McMahon Stadium, Calgary, Ab.
TV: TSN 1/3
U.S. and international live streaming:
Radio: 680 CJOB
Last meeting: The Blue Bombers edged the Stamps 19-18 in Calgary back on August 18th – a game in which Dru Brown started at quarterback and the club got a Pick-6 from Demerio Houston.
Streaks: Winnipeg: 3W; Calgary: 2W. The Blue Bombers have won both games against the Stamps this year, including a 24-11 victory in Winnipeg in July, and have won the last five meetings overall. Worth noting: 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two teams were decided inside the final three minutes.

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The QBs

  • Winnipeg will start Dru Brown, with Zach Collaros and Dakota Prukop both listed on the depth chart. Brown is 1-1 in his career as a starter, his win coming in the victory over Calgary in August.
  • Calgary is expected to start their QB1 in Jake Maier. He is 13-16 as a starter and 0-4 vs. Winnipeg.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 95-62. O’Shea’s 95 wins as Blue Bombers head coach now ranks him second all-time in franchise history behind only Bud Grant (102). O’Shea’s teams are 11-11 vs Calgary all-time.

Calgary: Dave Dickenson has a career record of 79-40-2. His teams are 7-10 vs. Winnipeg all-time in the regular season.

Blue Bomber Roster Notes

The Blue Bombers have made significant roster adjustments for this game with 10 changes from the lineup that took the field against Edmonton.

Coming on: CBs Demerio Houston and Tyrique McGhee, DB Souleymane Karamoko, LB Shayne Gauthier, DEs Celestin Haba and TyJuan Garbutt, OT Drew Richmond, WR Ravi Alston and DTs Miles Fox and Tanner Schmekel.

Off: LBs Adam Bighill and Kyrie Wilson, DEs Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat, DT Ricky Walker, DBs Redha Kramdi and Winston Rose, safety Brandon Alexander, Rec Nic Demski and OL Stanley Bryant

Brown is listed as QB1 on the depth chart, with Prukop at No. 2 and Collaros the third.

On offence, Richmond will start at left tackle for Bryantand Alston is listed as a starting slotback for Demski. Defensively, Haba and Thiadric Hansen are the starters at defensive end and Fox at defensive tackle, Brian Cole will start in Wilson’s spot at weak side linebacker and Malik Clements in the middle for Bighill with Jake Kelly and Karamoko listed as the Dime, where Kramdi usually starts. The secondary sees Houston back on at corner and will have Nick Hallett start at safety for Alexander.

Alexander, Bighill, Bryant, Demski, Jeffcoat, Jefferson, Kramdi, Rose, Walker and Wilson all join Dalton Schoen on the one-game injured list, meaning there will be a significant cap hit to the club. The six-game injured list includes Jared Beeksma, dime Alden Darby, Jr. FB Mike Miller, and receiver Jeremy Murphy.

Blue Bomber Spotlight: Drew Richmond, left tackle

The Blue Bombers clearly see something in Richmond, who hasn’t played since a horrific knee injury in his debut for the club in a meaningless November game in Montreal back in 2021. A product of the University of Tennessee who transferred to Southern California, Richmond lasted just seven plays in his debut, but has been grinding since to get back. He’ll replace Stanley Bryant for this game and, at age 27, remains a prospect due to the difficulty in finding quality import tackles.

“I’m looking forward to going out there and showing again what I can do,” Richmond said. “It’s a different situation for me. I’d never been hurt before and now coming back shows also what I have inside. It’ll be fun just to see all the hard work I put in last year come together.

“Coming back from the injury was the reward for me in being able to overcome something that was pretty significant. There was a lot of ambiguity going around about whether I could come back and be the same. So, for me just to be here on the team has been a reward for me. Getting the chance now to go out there, that’s the ice cream on top for me.”

Scouting the Stamps

The Stamps come into Friday’s game on a two-game win streak – their first of the year – and it represents a solid late surge to secure a playoff spot. Calgary was three wins behind Saskatchewan on Labour Day, but then knocked off the Riders and B.C. to get to 6-11. Calgary has made 18 consecutive trips to the playoffs – the longest active streak in the CFL.

Calgary’s win over the Lions last week in Vancouver was an eye-opener and perhaps a blueprint for them in the West Semi-Final against the Lions. The red and white rumbled for 213 yards on 31 carries against B.C., averaging 6.9 yards per run. Peyton Logan had 105 yards and a TD on just eight carries while Ka’Deem Carey had 88 yards on 15 touches while working behind Calgary’s solid O-line.

Jake Maier ranks third in passing yards at 4,134 – behind Vernon Adams, Jr. of B.C. (4,769) and Winnipeg’s Collaros (4,252). The Stamps have battled injuries in their receiving corps all season, but still possess a dangerous threat in veteran Reggie Begelton, who has posted a 1,119-yard campaign, and was named the team’s Most Outstanding Player this week.
Defensively, linebacker Micah Awe – the Stamps Most Outstanding Defensive Player – leads the CFL with 118 tackles and 137 defensive plays and Cameron Judge, the team’s top Canadian, leads the team with five interceptions. Up front, defensive lineman Mike Rose has a team best 11 sacks.


Oliveira’s 1,498 yards rushing is the second highest by a Canadian in league history to Jon Cornish’s 1,813-yard season with Calgary in 2013.

Oliveira’s total, by the way, ranks as 8th best single season total in Blue Bombers history. Ahead of him: Robert Mimbs (1,769 in 1991), Willard Reaves (1,733 in 1984), Charles Roberts (1,624 in 2005), Roberts (1,609 in 2006), Roberts (1,554 in 2003), Mack Herron (1,527 in 1972) and Roberts (1,522 in 2004).

Oliveira is 20 yards shy of hitting the 2,000 mark in yards from scrimmage – including his receiving totals – and Cornish is the only Canadian to have eclipsed the 2K mark. He had 2,139 yards from scrimmage in 2013.

“If I get it, great,” Oliveira said. “Obviously it’s something I would love to accomplish, but if it doesn’t happen, we’ve got bigger dreams and bigger goals. We know November 11th is the big game circled on our calendar and the game we’ve all got to be healthy for and bring our best game to get to the big one. If I get it, great. If not, I’ll be ready and fired up to go on November 11th.


“He’s my MOP. The guy’s a stud. He’s another guy who plays consistent football, comes in week in, week out. I see him every day and his process, how he handles himself as a pro. That’s my MOP right there.” – Oliveira on Zach Collaros.