June 10, 2023

Collaros, Bombers look in mid-season form in win over Ticats

Jonathan Kozub/CFL.ca

WINNIPEG — Anyone waiting for Zach Collaros and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to go away might have to wait a little longer.

The veteran quarterback threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns in the 42-31 win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday at IG Field.

The back-to-back Most Outstanding Player looked in command as the Bombers opened the season with expectations sky-high for a fourth straight Grey Cup appearance.

Collaros’ touchdowns went to three different targets in receivers Nic Demski, Dalton Schoen and Rasheed Bailey. The Bombers offensive arsenal also had running back Brady Oliveira rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown, with 36 more yards through the air.

“I thought we played hard, we played for each other,” said the 34-year-old veteran to TSN’s John Lu. “That’s what we are about. It’s all you can ask for.”

» Box Score: Bombers, Ticats by the numbers
» Gallery: Ticats at Bombers images
» Depth Charts: WPG | HAM
» Bombers hold off Ticats to win season opener


What seemed like an easy opening night win for the Bombers became a close game in the fourth quarter as the Ticats’ defence and special teams went on a scoring frenzy. First it was Carthell Flowers-Lloyd blocking a punt that was recovered in the end zone and then defensive lineman Ted Laurent forced a fumble off of Collaros – right as he caught the snap – that was returned 62 yards for another score by former Argonaut Chris Edwards.

Another fumble – this time forced by the Ticats special teams – gave Hamilton great field position to bring the game to within one score in the fourth, but Collaros and the Bombers calmly staged a game-sealing drive to clinch their first win of the season.

“At the end it was a little too close for our comfort,” said Collaros. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fumble like that. And then a fumble on a kickoff. That was crazy. Perfect CFL game.”

It is a mark of veteran teams to find ways to win even when things aren’t going their way. That is what the Bombers did by holding on to their lead despite multiple momentum-swing plays by the Ticats.

It’s nothing Collaros and these Bombers haven’t seen before.

“We played a lot of football together,” added the veteran. “We’ve been in situations that are similar, right? Got to the sideline, I don’t think anybody really need to say anything. Just get back to work, it’s all good.”

Winnipeg takes the field again next Friday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

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