The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are on their first six game winning streak since 2001, following a hard fought 17-10 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Banjo Bowl Saturday Afterrnoon.
A sold crowd of 33,234 at Investors Group Field watched Bomber Quarterback Matt Nichols score a pair of touchdowns on 1 yard plunges in the 2nd and 4th quarters in a game dominated by defence. And Nichols was the last man when he took down Kendial Lawrence of Saskatchewan on a potential game tying return off a missed Justin Medlock 47 yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter.
As it turned out, the Riders were penalized on the play, but Head Coach Mike O’Shea told 680 CJOB’s post game show “Nichols was honouring his team mates” by making that kind of a play.
The second major capped off a 6 play- 94 yard drive following a forced fumble by DB Kevin Fogg that was recovered deep in Winnipeg territory by Johnny Adams. O’Shea felt that was a huge turning point with Saskatchewan in the scoring zone. “Our Offense marched the ball down the field methodically. It was a good response to our defence turning the ball over.”
DB Terrence Frederick also forced a turnover on downs when he stopped a fake Saskatchewan field goal attempt cold at midfield with just over 5 minutes to play.
Weston Dressler was also outstanding for the Bombers, catching 7 passes for 135 yards in a bruising affair that saw LB Ian Wild and RB Andrew Harris leave with upper and lower body injuries in the second quarter. And REC Ryan Smith injured his right thumb in the 3rd quarter.
Dressler told 680 CJOB the hard hitting affair was just a product of an intense rivalry he has now been a part of for 9 years. “That’s how it is. Fight, claw, get out of there.”
Nichols, now 6-0 since replacing Drew Willy as the starter, completed 21 of 31 passes for 247 yards- and again with no interceptions. Darian Durant was 23/36 for 283 yards for the now 1-10 Roughriders who were flagged 12 times for 85 yards.
The 7-4 Bluebombers will try to make it 7 straight wins when they host Toronto next Saturday at 1 p.m.