Yesterday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers competed in their second and last preseason game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The scoring was slow for the first thirty minutes as the two teams broke to interventions with a 3-0 score in favor of the Blue and Gold. The Blue Bombers would continue their dominance holding onto the lead the entire game despite the late push by the Riders. They finished the game with a final score of 25-16.
Although this was a preseason game, for some this would be the last chance for players to make the final roster or the final chance to move up in the depth charts.
The quarterback position was one of Dru Brown and Dakota Prukop was one of the key players to watch in this matchup. The two quarters continued to split playing time with Brown taking snaps in the first and third quarters, while Prukop lined up behind the center in the second and fourth quarters.
For much of the game, it looked like Brown had gained an advantage over Prukop as he exited the game throwing 86 total yards on six of 14 passing attempts. But, the CFL veteran still had something left in the tank as he erupted for 215 passing yards on seven of 12 passing attempts. Prukop also led the team in rushing yards with 74 yards inf six carries.
“I’m really happy – a lot happier than last week,” Prukop said. “It’s preseason and I read somewhere that it doesn’t count, but it matters. It felt really good. I’m just happy it went out way.”
The running back battle also proved to be one of the interesting battles as the trio of McCrae, Simpson, and Borsa combined for 85 rushing yards on 19 rushing attempts. The group was led by Greg McCrae who had the most yards and averaged just under 10 yards per run. Kick return specialist Shane Simpson also had a big game as he gathered 26 total yards on six carries.
“That’s the plan,” said Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea of the difficult roster decisions ahead. “Ted (Goviea, Assistant GM), Danny (McManus, Assistant GM), and Kyle (Walters, GM) want to make sure those decisions are tough. If it was all easy, then they’d be upset.”
Key plays of the game:
The Blue Bombers got things started on the defensive end causing two overs in the first half during crucial areas for the Roughriders. Things started off with an Interception for Javon Jackson at the 7:30 mark in the first quarter, then was followed up by Jamal Parker with an extra effort to recover the ball on a fumbled kick return that led to an 18-yard field goal by Marc Liegghio.
Things capped off with Dakota Prukop who kept the team ahead with his stellar play in the passing and run game. If it weren’t for Prukop, the RoughRiders’ late-game comeback could have resulted in a win.
Offence: Dakota Prukop, QB – The veteran pivot seemed to muddy the No. 2 QB battle again with a solid night. Led the Bombers in rushing with 74 yards on just two carries and completed 7-of-12 for 215 yards with TD strikes of 78 yards to Whop Philyor and the 32-yarder to Harrison.
Defence: Malik Clements, LB – Two preseason games, two defensive game balls for Clements, who is trying to carve out a spot on the roster. Led the Bombers in tackles with eight, giving him 14 tackles and a sack in his two efforts.
Special teams: Marc Liegghio, K – The Bombers had five different players’ return kicks, so it’s tough to evaluate anyone returner. And there wasn’t much to separate Liegghio from Ali Mourtada. Liegghio finished with a 76.5-yard average on kickoffs – including one for a single – averaged 48 yards on two punts and made the Bombers’ only field goal of the preseason, an 18-yarder.
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