It’s one of the biggest games of the year for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, regardless of their record or that of their bitter rival, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But this year, the Bombers and Riders are sitting atop the West Division, so the stakes are sky high.
Sunday’s action kicks off at 2 p.m. in Regina, with pregame coverage on 680 CJOB beginning at noon. To tide you over until then, here are five things you should know about the game, courtesy of Ed Tait from bluebombers.com.
1. The Bombers and Roughriders meet Sunday in Regina in the 55th annual Labour Day Classic, which is already sold out and pits the top two teams in the West Division for the first time since 1954. This is the first of three games between the Bombers and Riders over the next six weeks. After this weekend, the Riders will be in Winnipeg on Saturday, September 7th for the Banjo Bowl, with the two sides meeting again in Regina on October 5th.
2. Sunday will mark the second-consecutive start for quarterback Chris Streveler in relief of an injured Matt Nichols. Streveler helped lead the Bombers to a critical victory in Edmonton last weekend. The Bombers completed only seven passes and threw for only 89 yards in that game, but also had 189 yards along the ground, while the defence — led by Willie Jefferson — was sensational.
3. The Bombers will be without Andrew Harris on Sunday as he serves the first of his two-game suspension for using a banned substance. Both second-year Bomber Johnny Augustine and rookie John Santiago are expected to share the running-back workload.
4. Winnipeg will also have a significant change in its receiving corps with the release this week of veteran Chris Matthews and the return of Darvin Adams. Adams has missed four games with a leg injury and the club’s leading receiver in each of the last two years will be an important cog as the Bombers attempt to get their passing game in gear.
5. The Bombers are in a run of five straight games against West Division opponents. Winnipeg has already cranked out wins over Calgary, B.C. and Edmonton and wraps up this stretch with the doubleheader against the Riders. The club will then enjoy the second of three bye weeks this year after the Banjo Bowl.
Next: The Bombers are home again on Saturday, September 7th, 3 p.m., for the annual Banjo Bowl. Fans seeking tickets should call 204-784-7448 or visit bluebombers.com/tickets.