Winnipeg Blue Bombers remain undefeated with win over Edmonton

EDMONTON — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers continued their perfect season with a 24-10 road win over the Edmonton Elks on Friday night at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Bombers improve to 7-0, while the Elks fall to 2-5 as their long search for a home win continues.

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros completed seven of 16 passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Bombers receiver Dalton Schoen led all players with 146 yards on just four catches, including an 81-yard touchdown.

Rasheed Bailey gave Winnipeg an early lead with a 26-yard touchdown catch, while backup Bombers quarterback Dru Brown helped seal the win late in the fourth quarter with a short touchdown run.

The Bombers sacked Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius five times, and defensive back Deatrick Nichols had a key interception that led to Winnipeg’s first touchdown.

Cornelius completed 25 of 42 passes for 270 yards with one interception, while former Winnipeg receiver Kenny Lawler led the Elks with 98 yards on seven grabs.

The game was broadcast live in Cree on radio stations in Edmonton and Calgary — marking the first time in league history that a game was broadcast in an Indigenous language.

» Box Score: Blue Bombers, Elks by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Bombers at Elks
» Defence comes up big as Bombers win 7th straight
» Watch: Collaros and Bailey connect for the TD strike

The Bombers opened the scoring early in the first quarter by converting a turnover into a touchdown. Nichols picked off Cornelius on Edmonton’s opening possession after the pass was tipped by linebacker Malik Clements. Collaros took over in Edmonton territory and seized the opportunity by throwing a beautiful touchdown pass to Bailey on the next play.

Collaros somehow managed to fit the pass into tight coverage over the helmet of defensive back Treston Decoud, giving Bailey his first touchdown of the season. Marc Liegghio kicked the convert to put Winnipeg up 7-0.

Former Winnipeg kicker Sergio Castillo put Edmonton on the board later in the first quarter with a 52-yard field goal.

Collaros responded on the ensuing drive with a 40-yard completion to Schoen to move the ball into the red zone. But the Bombers ultimately settled for a 20-yard field goal from Liegghio after Edmonton’s defence came up with a big stop.

Castillo moved Edmonton closer in the second quarter with a 44-yard field goal, cutting Winnipeg’s lead down to four points.

Edmonton’s defence stepped up with under two minutes to play in the second quarter, as linebacker Tobi Antigha picked off Collaros near midfield. It was Collaros’ first interception since Week 4.

But Winnipeg’s defence shut down the ensuing drive and forced a punt after Cornelius was sacked by linebacker Adam Bighill on second down for a seven-yard loss.

The Bombers’ offence got the ball back with just over a minute left in the half, and Collaros made the most of it by connecting with Schoen for an 81-yard touchdown.

Collaros extended the play with his legs to evade the pass rush and complete the pass, and Schoen broke away while gaining 41 yards after the catch for the score. Liegghio added the convert to give Winnipeg a 17-6 lead entering the second half.

The Elks cut into the lead in the third quarter with a 27-yard field goal from Castillo. Edmonton added a single later in the quarter after Castillo’s 48-yard field goal attempt went wide and was downed in the end zone, cutting Winnipeg’s lead down to seven points.

Elks defensive back Duron Carter made a big play to start the fourth quarter when he intercepted an underthrown pass from Collaros, but Edmonton’s offence was once again unable to convert the turnover into points.

Brown extended a Bombers drive late in the fourth with a quarterback sneak on third down, and he capped it off with a two-yard touchdown run three plays later. Liegghio kicked the convert to give Winnipeg a 14-point lead with under three minutes remaining.

Winnipeg’s defence closed out the win by forcing back-to-back turnovers on downs.

Week 8 will see the Blue Bombers travel to face the Calgary Stampeders on July 30 at 7 p.m. ET. The Elks will have a week off before travelling to take on the BC Lions in Week 9 on Aug. 6.

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