Following that dominating 35-14 win in Calgary last weekend in the CFL West Semifinal, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are one win away from making their first Grey Cup appearance in eight years — and having an opportunity to end the Canadian Football League’s longest championship drought.
680 CJOB’s six-plus hours of continuous coverage will begin at 1 p.m. from Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, leading up to the 3:30 p.m. kickoff. There will be much for the broadcast team of Bob Irving, Doug Brown and Ed Tait to discuss. But for now, here – once again – is a primer from the Director of Digital content for bluebombers.com.
1. The Bombers and Roughriders meet in the Western Final for the first time since 1972. The Riders won that game, held at old Winnipeg Stadium, on a last-second field goal. Now, part of the reason the Bombers and Riders have met so seldom in the West Final is beacause Winnipeg switched divisions in 1987 following the folding of the Montreal Alouettes, and spent 21 of the subsequent 33 years in the East Division. The Bombers have been back in the West since 2014.
Another historical nugget: the Bombers and Riders have met in the divisional final three times in total: in 1972, 1966 and 1941; with Saskatchewan winning in ’72 and ’66 and Winnipeg in ’41. The two squads have faced off 14 times in the playoffs, with each team winning seven times.
The last playoff meeting between these two rivals came in last year’s Western Semi-Final, won by the Bombers 23-18.
2. The winner of Sunday’s game will meet the winner of the Eastern Final in the 107th Grey Cup on Sunday, Nov. 24 in Calgary. The East showdown features the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Edmonton Eskimos, with the Esks having finished fourth in the West and then knocking off the Montreal Alouettes in last week’s Eastern Semi-Final as the crossover team.
3. Quarterbacks always draw all kinds of attention, and especially in the playoffs, but this week that focus has been even sharper. In Saskatchewan the Riders have been monitoring the health of their starter, Cody Fajardo, who suffered an oblique injury a few weeks back and missed their last regular-season game. He resumed throwing at practice this week, but has been limited in both his reps and the distance of his throws.
The QB focus has been different here in Winnipeg after last week’s win over the Calgary Stampeders in the Western Semi-Final. The Bombers got solid play from Zach Collaros, who threw a TD to Darvin Adams in the win, and spectacular work along the ground by Chris Streveler, who led all players in rushing and rumbled for a touchdown. Interestingly, Collaros was supposed to start last year’s Western Semi-Final for the Riders but was a late scratch. He opened this year as Saskatchewan’s starter, but was injured in the opener and then traded to Toronto and then Winnipeg.
4. The Bombers defence is coming off a sensational performance in the win over Calgary, having intercepted Bo Levi Mitchell three times and forcing four turnovers. Worth noting: Fajardo had two 300-yard passing games in the three meetings with Winnipeg this year, but was also sacked 13 times in those games.
5. Bombers kicker Justin Medlock enters the Western Final having connected on his last 16 field-goal attempts dating back to his last miss against Hamilton on Sept. 27. Medlock is now 30 of 34, or 88.2 per cent, in playoff games during his CFL career.
Next: A win on Sunday would propel the Bombers to their first Grey Cup appearance since 2011. A loss means it’s next-year country.
Win or lose, fans seeking season tickets for 2020 should call 204-784-7448 or visit bluebombers.com/tickets.