The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have opened as 8.5-point favourites to win the Banjo Bowl over the rival Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.
The Riders won last week’s Labour Day Classic between the two teams in overtime at a sold-out Mosaic Stadium in Regina by a score of 32-30. Saskatchewan opened as 7.5-point home underdogs but took care of business as Jake Dolegala won his second straight start under centre. The 26-year-old has now thrown for 772 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception in his second season as a member of the club.
Barring an appeal, Saskatchewan defensive end Pete Robertson won’t play this week after receiving a one-game suspension for headbutting Zach Collaros. The incident occurred late in the fourth quarter after Robertson knocked down a pass on second down. The play was not initially penalized, though the command centre stepped in to assess a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. Winnipeg was given a fresh set of downs with Brady Oliveira scoring a two-yard touchdown on the following play.
Robertson spoke to the media after the game and admitted that he has to do a better job of controlling his emotions.
Winnipeg has an all-time record of 11-7 in the Banjo Bowl and have won three in a row dating back to 2019. The club won last year’s rivalry game by a score of 54-20 as the Riders were ravaged by a stomach flu. A number of players were too ill to play as replacements had to be brought in from Regina at the last minute to help the club field a full roster.
Last week’s loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Blue Bombers, whose lead in the West Division standings was cut in half as the B.C. Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes to draw within two points of Winnipeg for first place. The Blue Bombers are 5-1 at home this season with their only loss coming against the Lions in Week 3.
The Blue Bombers (9-3) will host the Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-5) on Saturday, Sept. 9 at IG Field with kickoff slated for 4:00 p.m. EDT. The game will decide the season series between the two teams, which currently stands at 1-1.