LIVE STREAM PPV: Labor Day Classic – Winnipeg Blue Bombers v. Saskatchewan Roughriders – Sunday, Sept. 3 @ 4p EDT (10p CEST)

CFL.CA STAFF REGINA — There will a little bit more on the line when the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers face off on Sunday at Regina’s new Mosaic Stadium.

The Labour Day Classic between the prairie provinces is a game that players and fans alike mark on their calendars as a highlight of the regular season.

Winnipeg and Saskatchewan are two teams that have been trending upwards in recent weeks, adding even more intrigue to the annual showdown.

The Bombers picked up a victory in a double overtime thriller against the Montreal Alouettes in Week 10, coming away from Percival Molson Stadium with a 34-31 win.

Bombers pivot Matt Nichols threw for 227 yards with three touchdowns passes and an interception. Clarence Denmark was on the receiving end of two of those passes, one of them coming in overtime, to lift the Bombers to their fifth straight win and their seventh of the season.

On defense, Chris Randle had a par of interceptions while Taylor Loffler racked up nine tackles.

The Bombers and Riders went down to the wire in Week 2, but it was Winnipeg that came out on top with a 43-40 overtime win. Bombers running back Andrew Harris says that both teams have improved since that first meeting.

Saskatchewan WR Caleb Holley hauling in a pass vs Winnipeg July 1 Photo: Matt Smith

Harris spoke with BlueBombers.com:

“When you look at the film, [the Riders] don’t do too much different [compared to first game]. I just think now they’re making more plays. They’ve come together. They had a lot of new pieces on their defence, on offence… they’re just finding a way to come together now. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us. Obviously it was [in Week 2], but I think we’re a different team too from [then]. You build, you get better and better. It will be interesting to see how it’s going to play out once it’s all said and done.”

Receiver Weston Dressler will be back in the lineup for the Bombers on Sunday. The 32-year-old has not played since Week 6 when he left a game against the Alouettes with a lower body injury. Dressler was the team’s leading receiver before being sidelined for four games.

Harris, Bombers expecting the best from the Riders

Get ready for #LDWeekend with these five awesome Labour Day moments

The Roughriders picked up where they left off prior to their bye week, defeating the Edmonton Eskimos 54-31 at Commonwealth Stadium.

Saskatchewan received offensive contributions from a number of players as Naaman Roosevelt, Cameron Marshall and Bakari Grant each had receiving touchdowns while Vernon Adams added a rushing major. Special teams also added to the scoreboard when Willie Jefferson picked up his own blocked punt and ran it into the end zone.

Kevin Glenn completed 19 of 31 passes for 240 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Riders’ defense was equally as impressive, holding Eskimos pivot Mike Reilly to just 160 yards in the air with no touchdown passes. Kacy Rodgers and Jovon Johnson each had a pick-six in the win to add to Saskatchewan’s dominance on the scoreboard.

The victory was the first of the season for the Riders on the road. Saskatchewan is riding high heading into the Labour Day Classic, coming off of back-to-back blowout victories that saw the Riders score a combined 95 points compared to their opponents’ 39 points.

The Riders hope that they can carry that momentum forward into Sunday. Glenn says that the Labour Day Classic is a special game for a number of reasons.

Kevin Glenn to Riderville.com: 

“I think it’s the excitement and the build-up that goes into it. The fact that we’re playing Winnipeg, a close province team in the prairies. The tradition, the history behind it. I think all that kind of stuff plays into it… when you have the league in existence as long as it’s been and you play so many games, it continues that rich tradition.”

Winnipeg SB Ryan Lankford vs Saskatchewan July 1 Photo: Matt Smith

Despite chatter that he may make his 2017 debut this week, Chad Owens will not play in the Labour Day Classic. Owens said earlier in the week that he was mentally preparing as if he would be in the lineup on Sunday. Owens started the season on the Riders’ six-game injured list because of a foot injury that he suffered last season that forced him to miss his last six games with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

By The Numbers

5 – Win streak for the Bombers heading into Week 11

12 – Turnovers forced by the Riders’ defence in their last two games

16 – Passing touchdowns for Kevin Glenn this season, third overall in the league.

23– Straight starts that Matt Nichols has made for the Bombers. The last quarterback to do that in Winnipeg was Kevin Glenn between 2006 and 2008.

The Skinny

The Bombers and Riders are two of the CFL’s hottest teams heading into this Labour Day Classic matchup. It is the first game of a home-and-home series, as the two teams travel back to Winnipeg in Week 12 for the Banjo Bowl.

While the Bombers’ offence has been dominant for most of this season, boasting a league-high 34.2 points per game, their defence has struggled. Winnipeg’s defence ranks second-last in yards given up per game (410.4) and points per game (30.9). It could spell trouble against a Saskatchewan squad that has been on an offensive surge the past two games,

A win for the Bombers would move them into first place in the West, at least temporarily, while the Riders are trying to keep pace for a playoff spot and are currently at the bottom of the division with a 4-4 record.

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