September 28, 2023

GC109 rematch between Bombers, Argos kicks off Week 17

WINNIPEG — It’s a game that’s been circled on the calendar since the schedule was released.

The Toronto Argonauts travel to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers in a rematch of the 109th Grey Cup on Friday night to kick off Week 17.

The Argonauts visit IG Field winners of six-straight and boasting a 12-1 record, while the Bombers are 2-2 in their last four and are searching for the level of consistency they’re used to.

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The game is headlined by two of the better rushing teams in the league. After getting the week off in their 29-14 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, AJ Ouellette returns to the fold. Ouellette sits 132 yards shy of 1,000 on the season.

Linemen Jackson Jeffcoat, Willie Jefferson, Jake Thomas and linebacker Adam Bighill draw the assignment of shutting down the Argos potent run game. Jefferson leads the team with eight sacks and Bighill is tops with 63 defensive tackles.

While the Argos feature an impressive ground game, Winnipeg can feel good about handing the ball to the league’s top rusher. Brady Oliveira. The Bombers tailback has carried the ball 202 times for 1,190 yards and six touchdowns but is up against his biggest test yet in an Argos front that is best in the league at limiting opposing rusher’s yardage.

Oliveira should be up to the test and isn’t shy about what this game means to his team.

“Obviously, the last time we played them was in the Grey Cup so, yeah, I think we’re all excited to have that opportunity again to go against them and maybe put it out there who really is the best in the league,” Oliveira told “We’re excited. We’re really locked in.”

Thomas Costigan and Robbie Smith lead the unit up front for the Boatmen and are backed by the physical Jonathan Jones and Adarius Pickett at linebacker, meaning the Bombers offensive line certainly has their hands full in creating space for their talented running back.

It’ll be Cameron Dukes under centre leading the Argos pass game, at least to start, but Chad Kelly could find his way into the game at some point.

With only one receiver in the top 15 in yards, which is DaVaris Daniels with 753, the offence has shown the ability to share the targets among several wideouts. Dejon Brissett led the team last week with 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns and the always dangerous Damonte Coxie must be kept in check.

Attempting to do so is a secondary that has been stingy all season long against the pass and is allowing an average of 224.2 yards per game. Defensive back Demerio Houston remains the leader of the corps with seven interceptions but is well supported by Brandon Alexander, Evan Holm and Winston Rose. 

As strong as the Bombers run game is, quarterback Zach Collaros will be looking for big plays downfield against an Argos team that’s in the bottom half of the league in defending the pass.

No quarterback has been better at finding the end zone than Collaros, who’s done so 29 times, with receivers Dalton Schoen, Nic Demski and Kenny Lawler being three of his favourite targets. Schoen and his 1,035 yards trails Montreal’s Austin Mack by just 22 for the league lead and Demski is 69 short of 1,000.

Without top defensive backs Jamal Peters and Robertson Daniel who will not play in this contest, it’s going to take a team effort in the Argos secondary to slow them down, led by Royce Metchie and Tarvarus McFadden.

Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie is trying not to get too caught up in the hype of this week’s game as he knows there’s still a long way to go to accomplish their ultimate goal.

“It’s a whole new year,” Dinwiddie told reporters. “I’m worried about going 1-0 and going out there and winning in Winnipeg. We all know we have to get to the Eastern Final, you win that game and you’re in the Grey Cup. We’re still going to keep that mindset of going 1-0.”

Toronto may have locked up the East Division title but a measuring stick game against the team they defeated in last year’s Grey Cup still brings a heightened sense of importance.

A win for Winnipeg would move them into sole possession of first in the West Division.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and can be watched on TSN/RDS in Canada or on CFL+ in the U.S. and Internationally.

– With files from and

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