The Blue Bombers are going back to the Grey Cup
WINNIPEG -- For the first time in eight long years, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be playing on the CFL’s biggest stage.
The Bombers held on to a 20-13 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday evening, and will represent the West Division in the Grey Cup for the first time since 2011, when they lost to the BC Lions.
Saskatchewan hit the scoreboard first when Jon Ryan scored a single off a 54-yard punt 1:40 into the game, and Winnipeg’s kicker Justin Medlock answered with a field goal with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
With less than two minutes left on the clock, Zach Collaros connected with Darvin Adams for a 63-yard gain, which would put their offence on the Roughrider 29-yard line after a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Two plays later, Collaros would find Kenny Lawler for a 26-yard touchdown. That capped off a 107-yard drive, the longest in the CFL playoffs since 2011.
It proved to be the only major of the game, with the rest of the points being scored by the kickers. Medlock scored a single point off a 60-yard punt in the second quarter, and was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals, while his Saskatchewan counterpart Brett Lauther also converted on all four of his field goal attempts.
Winnipeg’s defence made the difference in the fourth quarter, first holding the Roughriders’ offence to a field goal after stopping them on second and goal from the one yard line with just over 10 minutes to go.
Then with just over two minutes remaining, the Roughriders came away with no points when Cody Fajardo’s quarterback keeper was stopped on third and goal from the one yard line.
The game was decided on the final play, when Fajardo’s pass attempt on third and goal from the eight-yard line hit the upright, resulting in a dead ball and a Blue Bombers’ victory.
With the win, another chapter will be added to the story of Zach Collaros, who became the first player in CFL history to start the season with one team, and end up starting against that team in a Division Final. The 31-year-old completed 17-of-25 passes for 267-yards and a touchdown against Saskatchewan, and will take part in his third championship game.
He and the Bombers will face off against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 107th Grey Cup on Sunday, Nov. 24, a team the quarterback spent four seasons of his career with.