Blue Bombers beat Roughriders 17-10 to extend win streak
Bombers hosted the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the Saturday game
Matt Nichols ran in for a pair of touchdowns Saturday as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers extended their winning streak to six games with a 17-10 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The victory in front of a sold-out Banjo Bowl crowd of 33,234 at Investors Group Field was the first time the Bombers (7-4) have won six straight games since 2001.
Saskatchewan (1-10) has now lost seven in a row.
Nichols completed 21-of-32 pass attempts for 247 yards and no interceptions. He's thrown only one interception since taking over for starter Drew Willy and has led the team on its winning streak.
Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant was 23-of-36 passing for 283 yards with one TD and no picks.
Bombers kicker Justin Medlock booted one field goal from 34 yards and went wide on attempts from 49 and 48 yards. He was good on his two converts.
Winnipeg had a 76-yard punt return TD by rookie defensive back Kevin Fogg wiped out in the third quarter because of an illegal block. It was Fogg's third return for a major this season erased by a penalty. Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea challenged the illegal block that nixed Fogg's punt return TD, but was unsuccessful.
Naaman Roosevelt caught a 12-yard TD pass for the Riders and finished with six catches for 121 yards. Tyler Crapigna was good on his one field-goal attempt from 14 yards and made his convert.
The Blue Bombers were without three key starters for the second half including running back Andrew Harris, receiver Ryan Smith and linebacker Ian Wild. Backup defenceman Brendan Morgan also left the game.
Saskatchewan had tied the game 10-10 in the third quarter, but Winnipeg capitalized on a fourth-quarter turnover. Fogg came up big again and stripped the ball after Caleb Holley made a catch. Bombers defensive back Johnny Adams recovered at Winnipeg's own 16-yard line.
Nichols then led the offence on a six-play, 94-yard drive that he capped off with his second TD of the game. He also ran 15 yards in the drive to Saskatchewan's one-yard line.
The Riders then got to midfield, but turned the ball over on downs when backup QB Brandon Bridge was sacked by Bombers defensive back Terrence Frederick on third and three with five minutes left in the game.
Saskatchewan led 3-0 after the first quarter, but Winnipeg held a 10-3 lead at halftime.
The Riders' first possession of the game ended with a field goal at 6:11 after the Riders were stopped three times at Winnipeg's one-yard line and once from the six. The field goal halted Saskatchewan's run of four games without a point in the first quarter.
Winnipeg tied the game 3-3 with Medlock's field goal at 5:04 of the second quarter.
The Bombers took the 10-3 lead at 11:33 on Nichols' one-yard plunge, which capped off a penalty-filled drive that included a roughing the passer call on the Riders.
Former Saskatchewan receiver Weston Dressler, who had some fans wearing his old green jersey, hauled in a 49-yard pass during the drive. He finished with seven catches for 135 yards.
Smith, back from being on the six-game injured list, left the game in the third quarter with his hand wrapped.
Roosevelt tied the game 10-10 at 6:32 of the third with his 12-yard reception and second TD of the season.
Medlock missed his 49-yard field goal attempt and the score remained tied heading into the final quarter.
Notes: Winnipeg hasn't won the double-header Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl games since the first year the bowl game began in 2004.