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Bombers’ Collaros Looking to Remain Unbeaten in Labour Day Contest

August 30, 2023 2:48 PM | The Canadian Press

By Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Zach Collaros - Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Zach Collaros (8) throws against the Edmonton Elks during first-half CFL action in Winnipeg, Thursday, July 20, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Playing on Labour Day certainly agrees with Zach Collaros.

The veteran quarterback is 6-0 on the holiday weekend heading into Winnipeg’s contest Sunday night versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium. Collaros, 35, was 3-0 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 1-0 for the Riders and this weekend looks to improve to 3-0 with the Blue Bombers.

Collaros has 13 touchdown passes over those six contests with just three interceptions. He has thrown for over 300 yards three times and in 2015 registered 400 yards passing and four TDs in Hamilton’s 42-12 victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

Saskatchewan (5-5) leads the Labour Day series 37-21 and has taken 14 of the last 17 games. But the Bombers (9-2) have won the last two and a victory Sunday would not give them the season series but clinch a CFL playoff spot for a seventh straight season.

Collaros threw for 293 yards and two TDs in that contest while adding 26 rushing yards and a touchdown on three carries. Dalton Schoen, the CFL’s top rookie last year, had eight catches for 145 yards and a touchdown.

Riders starter Trevor Harris threw for 413 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a team-high 23 yards. But with both Harris and backup Mason Fine both injured, Jake Dolegala will be under centre for Saskatchewan.


Dolegala threw three touchdown passes in Saskatchewan’s 34-29 home win over B.C. on Aug. 20 and the Riders are coming off a bye week. But the Bombers counter with a defence that’s allowed just eight TD passes all season, a CFL low.

Winnipeg comes in on a league-best five-game win streak. At times, the Bombers have looked human — falling behind 22-0 versus Edmonton before winning 38-29; edging Calgary 19-18; and giving up two pick-sixes last week before downing Montreal 47-17. But the mark of a contending team is being able to overcome its mistakes or still win even when not at its best.

The Bombers are also 6-1 within the West and 4-1 on the road. Saskatchewan is 4-3 versus division opponents and 3-2 at Mosaic Stadium.

Winnipeg leads the CFL in offensive points (29.7 per game), offensive TDs (36), net offence (390.5 yards), passing TDs (25) and most 30-plus yard completions (26). The Bombers are also second in rushing (126.2 yards) and passing (284.4 yards).

Collaros, the CFL’s outstanding player the last two years, is third overall in passing (2,538 yards) but tops in TD strikes (20). Brady Oliveira (902 yards) is the league’s top rusher while Schoen (seven TDs) and Winnipeg native Nic Demski (five TDs) and Kenny Lawler (21.4-yard average per catch over five games) anchor a solid receiving corps.

Offensively, Saskatchewan is seventh in offensive points (19.7 per game) and sixth in offensive TDs (18) but third in passing (274.4 yards) and fourth in net offence (344.1). But the Riders stand tied for sixth in sacks allowed (31) and eighth overall in rushing (87.2 yards).

The Riders’ defence is third in fewest offensive yards allowed (323) and fourth against the pass (245.4) but seventh in offensive points given up (24.1) and eighth in both sacks (24) and turnovers forced (20).

Now, Labour Day is certainly its own beast and a time when the unexpected does happen. It’s a rivalry series in the truest sense of the word and a rabid Mosaic Stadium definitely gives the home team an advantage.

But there’s a reason why Winnipeg is chasing a fourth straight Grey Cup appearance and third championship.

Pick: Winnipeg.

CP - The Canadian Press