Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Primed for a classic

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The melonheads and banjo pluckers will be out in full force today at Mosiac Stadium as their Green riders host the Blue Bombers.

TROY FLEECE / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

The melonheads and banjo pluckers will be out in full force today at Mosiac Stadium as their Green riders host the Blue Bombers.

ED TAIT'S LABOUR DAY CLASSIC PRIMER

 

WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (6-3)

at SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (6-2)

 

WHERE: Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium, Regina

WHEN: Today, 3 p.m.

STREAKS: Saskatchewan: 5W; Winnipeg: 1W.

SEASON SERIES: The Riders won the first of three meetings this year -- the last is next weekend's Banjo Bowl -- 23-17 back on Aug. 7 in Winnipeg. This is the first time since 2005 the Bombers have been in the West Division, making the season series critical.

ALL-TIME SERIES (SINCE 1936): Winnipeg 128-98-4.

FYI: The Riders have made two changes to their starting lineup, adding SB Weston Dressler, while Dan Clark will start at right guard for Chris Best... Winnipeg's changes will see Jarvis Jones start at right guard for Paddy Neufeld and EJ Kuale at middle linebacker for Abe Kromah.

 

FIVE NOTABLE NUMBERS

 

9 -- Consecutive wins by the Riders in the annual LDC, dating back to Winnipeg's last win in 2004. Saskatchewan is 16-4 in the last 20 Classics.

Plus-28 -- In the last 13 head-to-head matchups between the two teams -- of which Saskatchewan in a whopping 11-2 -- the Riders are plus-28 in the turnover ratio.

2 -- Lirim Hajrullahu, the rookie kicker for the Bombers, has missed only two field-goal attempts all season (19-of-21). Interestingly, both have hit the upright and bounced out.

3 -- The Bombers have allowed only three total points in the first quarter in their last five games, four of which have been shutouts.

47% -- The Riders have rushed the ball on 47 per cent of their offensive touches this year, the highest run ratio by any Saskatchewan team since 2002. Across the league, teams are rushing the ball 37.5 per cent of the time -- the highest ratio in 12 years.

 

THREE TO WATCH

 

WINNIPEG

31 Maurice Leggett, S: Has been a ball hawk of late, having intercepted three passes in last week's win over Montreal to boost his league-leading total to five -- all five of which have come in the last five games. Worth noting: Saskatchewan QBs have now gone four games and 123 pass attempts without an interception. In the first four games they tossed five.

65 Jarvis Jones, OL: The Bombers will start three American on their offensive line -- Jones, making his first start of 2014 along with tackles Glenn January and Cordaro Howard. Jones started seven straight games at tackle last season after being signed in September, but lost his starting gig coming out of camp earlier this year.

5 Drew Willy, QB: It's not just because Willy took a shot on his throwing hand on Thursday, but because he returns to the place where he began his CFL career. Willy threw for 303 yards in the first meeting between the two clubs, but also threw three interceptions -- one of which was returned for a TD -- and fumbled once, also returned for a score.


SASKATCHEWAN

7 Weston Dressler, SB: The Riders' little big man brings a home-run threat to the Saskatchewan offence and should open up more space for Rob Bagg, Chris Getzlaf and Taj Smith.

95 Ricky Foley, DE: With so much focus on John Chick -- and, rightfuly so, given he leads the CFL with 12 sacks -- Foley and defensive tackles Tearrius George and Derek Walker will get less attention from the Bomber front.

33 Jerome Messam, FB: Didn't play last week because of a bum shoulder and might not carry the ball today like he did in Winnipeg three weeks ago, when he slammed through the Bomber defence for 100-plus yards in the second half. But he's an excellent change-of-pace runner to Will Ford and Anthony Allen.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2014 B3

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