LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Banjo Bowl – Saskatchewan Roughriders @Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Sept. 8, 2p (4p ET, 10p CET)

WINNIPEG — The intensity of the Winnipeg-Saskatchewan rivalry continues to grow, carrying over from last week’s storied Mark’s Labour Day Weekend tradition to the 15th annual Banjo Bowl Saturday at Investors Group Field.

The Bombers lead the all-time series 8-6 since the Banjo Bowl was introduced in 2004 and have won the last three meetings.

Matt Nichols has a history of success in the rivalry match. The 31-year-old has started in the last three Banjo Bowls and will be going for a fourth straight trophy on Saturday.

However, more recently the Bombers have dropped their last three games. A win on Saturday might just be the pick-me-up Winnipeg needs to turn the slump around.

“We feel like we have the talent in this building but as a team haven’t been able to completely put it together for long stretches,” Nichols told BlueBombers.com. “There’s a lot of good teams that go through stretches like this. Edmonton lost six in a row last year and they were a very good football team.

“Sometimes it just takes playing through some of these things to make sure we get it figured out and turned around for the end of the season.”

The Riders topped the Bombers 31-23 in the annual Labour Day Classic at new Mosaic Stadium last week. Saskatchewan quarterback Zach Collaros found Marcus Thigpen in the end zone early in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead touchdown. The Riders held on for the win.

Collaros finished the game with 250 through the air with one touchdown and one interception while Thigpen ran for 55 yards while adding another 37 receiving yards

Bombers running back Andrew Harris went off for 158 yards in the losing effort.

Despite the Bombers’ recent struggles, Harris says that the team knows they are in a good spot when it comes to the playoff race.

“It’s tight right now,” said Harris. “It’s neck and neck. Besides Calgary I feel like it could be anyone that could be second, third. It’s still a big race for how it’s going to play out. For us, we just have to stay consistent and worry about one game at a time and one play at a time.”

Weston Dressler will not be in the lineup for the Bombers. He’s been pulled off the active roster for Saturday’s game after recently coming off the six-game injured list and will be replaced by Corey Washington, who made his first start last week.

The Bombers currently sit fourth in the West while the Riders are second in the division. The two teams are separated by just two points.

 

After a sluggish start to the season, Saskatchewan has been surging up the CFL ranks. The team has now won three straight, including handing the Stamps their first loss of the season three weeks ago.

But while the Riders have dominated the Labour Day Classic, it is the Bombers that have owned the Banjo Bowl.

The Riders plan to change that.

“There’s definitely something bigger about the game, hence why it’s called the Banjo Bowl,” defensive backEd Gainey told Riderville.com. “It has its history behind it. At the end of the day it’s a new year and we’re on a roll right now. We’re not looking to stop that.”

The last time the Riders were able to sweep the home-and-home series with the Bombers was back in 2014.

Veteran receiver  Naaman Roosevelt says the atmosphere at Investors Group Field makes it hard for visiting opponents to pick up a victory. The anticipation around the rivalry match heightens the game day experience.

Roosevelt has yet to win a Banjo Bowl since joining the team in 2015.

“They play good here,” said Roosevelt. “The fans are going crazy. It’s always loud, especially when the offence is out there. For us its just to go out there and execute as an offence and give our defence the lead and see what happens.”

Collaros will be playing in his very first Banjo Bowl on Saturday. The 30-year-old appears to have found his place in Riderville. Collaros has won his last three starts after a stretch in which he went 1-14.

“I know we’ve had some trouble going back after winning here,” said the quarterback. “Each year is a different thing. I’m not a huge believer in this game that history is going to repeat itself because it’s always a new group of guys.”

One player that can help turn the tides is all-star defensive lineman Charleston Hughes. The 34-year-old has been named one of the Shaw CFL Top Performers of the Month for August. Hughes leads the league in sacks with 13; five more than the next closest player.

By The Numbers:

– Games in a row that the Bombers have had a return touchdown (fumble, interception and punt return). The last time they did that was in August of 2016, but all three were interceptions.

4 – Sacks allowed by the Riders in their last six games.

37 – Rushing yards needed by Andrew Harris to reach 1,000 for the season.

89.8 – League low rushing yards allowed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders on average per game.

Getting on the board first could prove to be the difference in this game.

The team that has scored first in the Banjo Bowl has won 10 times out of the last 14 matchups.

The rule applied last year as Matt Nichols connected with Clarence Denmark midway through the first quarter to go up 7-0. The Bombers went on to win 48-21.

Collaros and Nichols are the only quarterbacks with at least five starts that have yet to record a 300-yard passing game in 2018. Collaros’ last 300-plus yard game was on July 15, 2017. He has gone 12 starts with a single-game high of 282 yards. Nichols’ last 300-plus yard game was on Sept. 22, 2017. He has gone 13 games in a row without going over that mark.

It appears that one of them is overdue for a big day.

– With files from BlueBombers.com/Riderville.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Banjo Bowl – Saskatchewan Roughriders @Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Sept. 8, 2p (4p ET, 10p CET)

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