Game Preview | CGY vs WPG

THE 4-1-1

Kickoff: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. IG Field, Winnipeg
TV: TSN; ESPN+
Radio: 680 CJOB
Home/Road: The Blue Bombers are 3-1 at home this year. Their OT loss to Montreal before the bye snapped a 13-game home winning streak, including playoffs. Calgary is 4-1 on the road so far this season.
BetRegal.ca odds: The Blue Bombers are favoured by 5.5 points. For more of Bet Regal’s numbers on this game, click here.
Streaks: Winnipeg: 1L; Calgary: 1W.
Take note: Thursday is the Purolator Tackle Hunger Game. Fans can make tap donations and non-perishable items in support of Harvest Manitoba can also be made. For more info:

Take note II: Construction is still underway on University Crescent. Check out this video for transportation options:

The QBs

  • Calgary has made a QB change this week, opting to start Jake Maier over veteran Bo Levi Mitchell. Maier is 1-2 as a starter in his career and 0-1 vs. the Blue Bombers.
  • Winnipeg lines up Zach Collaros behind centre. He is 55-35 in his career and 26-3 in his games as a starter in Winnipeg, including playoffs and two Grey Cup victories.

The Coaches

Winnipeg: Mike O’Shea has a career won-lost record of 76-56. O’Shea’s 76 wins as a Blue Bombers head coach ranks third on the club’s all-time list, behind only Bud Grant (102) and Cal Murphy (86).

Calgary: Dave Dickenson has a career record of 67-26-2 during his days as the Stamps boss. That includes a 7-7 regular season record vs. the Blue Bombers.

Blue Roster Shuffle

The Bombers depth chart features three changes from the loss to Montreal prior to the bye. Coming aboard are Canadian defensive back Patrice Rene, American receiver Tavaris Harrison and Global offensive lineman Tomoya Machino.

Off are receiver Greg Ellingson, receiver/returner Janarion Grant and defensive back Redha Kramdi. Ellingson has been moved to the six-game injured list, joining safeties Brandon Alexander, Noah Hallett and Malcolm Thompson, centre Michael Couture, tackle Drew Richmond, linebacker Kyrie Wilson, defensive back Mercy Maston and receivers Carlton Agudosi and Brendan O’Leary-Orange.

Greg McCrae is listed as the starter in Ellingson’s slotback spot, while rookie Jamal Parker will handle kickoff-return duties and veteran Nick Taylor will take over for Grant in punt returns.

Taylor said the last time he returned punts was years ago, first in the Stars Football League, then with the Orlando Predators of the Arena League and during his time with the Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s been a while in a game situation,” said Taylor. “Any time you get the opportunity to get the ball in your hands, you’ve got to relish that moment and try to make the most of it, try to help out the offence with good field position and, most importantly, protect the ball.”

Taylor described himself as elusive and added ‘I still think I’m the fastest guy on the team. With the ball in my hands, I’m trying to score and help the team out.”

BLUE BOMBER SPOTLIGHTDB/KR Jamal Parker

Parker will dress for his sixth straight game for the Blue Bombers and is listed as the main kick returner with Grant out this week.

Parker was named to a Second-Team All-MAC all-star in 2019, his senior season with Kent State after finishing second in the conference in kickoff return average. He also led the team in interceptions as both a junior and senior.

Parker said the last time he returned kicks was the Frisco Bowl against Utah on December 21, 2019.

“We won 51-41 in a shootout,” said Parker. “And I actually returned an on-side kick for 41 yards.

“But practice prep meets game reality, so I’ll be ready for it. It’s second nature. I’ll just my job and do what I have to do for the team.”

FYI

A Blue Bombers win Thursday would give the franchise the distinction of being the first team to reach 400 victories (since the inception of the CFL in 1958). Winnipeg has 399 home victories – as does Calgary – while Edmonton is at 397.

NOTABLE

  • The Blue Bombers have already won the season series with the Stamps this year with a 26-19 victory in Winnipeg and a 35-28 win in Calgary last month. Winnipeg last swept the season series with the Stamps in 2002 and not swept a three-game set with Calgary since 1987.
  • This from the CFL’s stats gurus: the last eight meetings between the Stamps and Blue Bombers have been decided by eight points or less. Winnipeg is 6-2 in those games, with each of Calgary’s two wins coming by one point.
  • Calgary DE Shawn Lemon moved into a tie with Willie Pless for 19th place on the CFL’s all-time quarterback sack list. Lemon had two sacks last week and now has 84 all time.

MILESTONE WATCH

With 106 yards passing Thursday Zach Collaros would move past Joe Kapp into 26th place on the CFL’s all-time passing yardage list. Collaros is at 22,619 yards; Kapp finished his career at 22,724.

And with 295 yards passing Collaros would move past Calgary coach Dave Dickenson (22,913) and into the Top 25 on that list.

Another one from the CFL stats crew: Collaros has not lost consecutive starts since August of 2018 – a streak covering 36 starts.

The CFL’s list of longest streaks without consecutive losses by a QB has Bo Levi Mitchell at the top at 67 (2013-17), followed by Ken Ploen of the Bombers at 62 (1957-62), Anthony Calvillo of the Alouettes at 47 (2008-11), Ron Lancaster of Saskatchewan at 44 and then Collaros, tied with Doug Flutie (1996-97 with Toronto) at 36.

STREAKING

  • Dalton Schoen has caught a TD pass in four consecutive games for the Blue Bombers. The last to accomplish that feat was Clarence Denmark, who caught scores in five consecutive games during the 2016 season.
  • Brady Oliveira averaged 33 yards rushing per game though the first six starts of ’22, but has bumped that to 87 yards per game over the last four.

QUOTABLE

“I hate that we lost our last game. But I’m glad it happened now instead of late in the season when it’s win or go home. I’m glad we got our arms broken a little bit. But our group, we probably were messaging each other 30 times each day during the bye. We watched Calgary play one game on our bye week and then came back and watched Calgary play another game. It was non-stop because they were our next opponent. We’re ready to go.” – Jermarcus Hardrick.

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