WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hit all the right notes in a 51-6 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Saturday’s Banjo Bowl game.
Quarterback Zach Collaros threw five touchdown passes, including three to Dalton Schoen, and running back Brady Oliveira went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season with 154 yards on 18 carries and also caught a 17-yard TD pass.
The victory in front of a sellout crowd of 32,343 at IG Field avenged Winnipeg’s 32-30 overtime loss to Saskatchewan in last weekend’s Labour Day Classic.
The Blue Bombers lead the CFL West Division with a 10-3 record. The Roughriders, who only had two field goals in the first half, fell to 6-6. Winnipeg also wins the season series 2-1.
Collaros completed 16 of 17 pass attempts for 285 yards and five TDs in the first half, and finished the game 18-of-21 for 319 yards with the five majors and no interceptions. He was replaced by Dru Brown early in the fourth quarter.
Saskatchewan quarterback Jake Dolegala was 15-of-21 passing for 113 yards and no picks.
Kenny Lawler also caught a TD pass for Winnipeg, while backup quarterback Dakota Prukop had a one-yard TD plunge. Placekicker Sergio Castillo made field goals from 40, 24 and 18 yards, and all six of his convert attempts.
Oliveira needed 10 yards to pass the 1,000-yard milestone for the second consecutive season. He continues to lead the CFL in rushing with 193 carries for 1,144 yards through 13 games. He also had four receptions for 57 yards with the one TD in the game.
Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther connected on field goals from 27 and 39 yards and missed a late 41-yard attempt.
Winnipeg led 14-3 after the first quarter, 42-6 at halftime and 45-6 heading into the final quarter.
Winnipeg got to the Roughriders’ one-yard line on its first possession and went for the end zone on third and one, with Prukop keeping the ball for the 7-3 lead.
Oliveira starred in Winnipeg’s second TD. He rushed for 36 yards on one play and then caught a ball Collaros flipped up to him while under pressure and ran 17 yards for the score with 3:22 left in the first quarter.
Lawler spun around and fell into the end zone just over two minutes into the second quarter, but was initially ruled down at the one. A command-centre review overturned the decision and the Bombers went ahead 21-3 after the convert.
Collaros had completed all nine of his pass attempts up to that point for 109 yards, but his first pass on Winnipeg’s next series missed its target. The blip didn’t last long.
The Roughriders, who had two new starters on their offensive line, then turned the ball over on downs with three minutes left in the first half.
That led to Schoen’s 31-yard TD catch, followed by his eight-yard score with seven seconds remaining in the first half.
Castillo had a field goal in the third quarter and a pair in the fourth to wrap up the scoring. Lauther missed the 41-yarder with 1:36 left.
Former Bombers backup QB Chris Streveler was in Winnipeg to visit friends and signed autographs for a long lineup of fans before the game.
Streveler became a fan favourite after helping Winnipeg win the 2019 Grey Cup. He celebrated in the parade wearing a fur coat and no shirt while chewing on a cigar. It was his first time back in the city since hoisting the trophy.
He signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020 and was recently waived by the New York Jets after injuring a thumb in a pre-season game. He plans to pursue more NFL opportunities this season.
The Roughriders host the Edmonton Elks on Friday, while the Bombers travel to Hamilton to play the Tiger-Cats on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2023.