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July 5, 2024

Redblacks Kick Off West-heavy Stretch In Winnipeg

For their next eight games, the Ottawa REDBLACKS will be taking on exclusively West Division opponents, and are faced with a tough challenge in the first contest.

The REDBLACKS are Winnipeg, Friday, to take on the winless, but no less dangerous Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with Ottawa not having won in Manitoba since 2018. It’s an 8:30pm ET kickoff from Princess Auto Stadium.

It took some late heroics, but the REDBLACKS ended long losing streaks against Eastern opponents, and against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, last week. After a Bo Levi Mitchell touchdown throw put the Tabbies ahead with 28 seconds to play, the REDBLACKS worked their way into field goal range, setting the stage for a Lewis Ward walk-off winner.

Dru Brown threw for 265 yards, lobbing a touchdown to Justin Hardy, while Dustin Crum rushed for another. Ryquell Armstead earned weekly top running back honours for the second time this season, with a handful of late heavy runs setting up REDBLACKS scores. Defensively, both of Ottawa’s star edge rushers caused havoc in the Hamilton backfield, with Lorenzo Mauldin and Bryce Carter both recording sacks, alongside Frankie Griffin’s game-high 11 tackles.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION

The Bombers’ early-season injury struggles continue to mount, and have now spread to the quarterback position. Former MOP quarterback Zach Collaros was knocked out of last week’s tilt with the Calgary Stampeders, after suffering a thorax injury, and mobile threat Chris Streveler will start tonight against the REDBLACKS.

Already missing the likes of Kenny Lawler, and Dalton Schoen, WInnipeg has fought hard in the early goings of the season, taking the Stamps to overtime last week, but falling just short of their first win.

All of the Bombers’ losses have come by no more than four points; a mark set by the REDBLACKS in Week 2, when they held off a late Winnipeg rally for a 23-19 win. Collaros passed for 285 yards in that game, but for no touchdowns and two interceptions, to Brown’s 238 yards and a major. Adarius Pickett, and Alonzo Addae picked off Collaros in that effort.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Bob Dyce, Head Coach, on his team’s early-season resilience thus far: “As we’re building our identity, it’s really important to have wins like [last week’s]. When people start believing and making the plays they need to, like this group does, it’s a really positive thing that you can build off of.”

Jaelon Acklin, receiver, on the offence continuing to come together: “We’re still trying to figure out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses route-wise, concept-wise on the offence, and even on the O-line. It always takes time to gel. Every year it’s a totally different team, a totally new quarterback. But we’re building chemistry as an offence.”

Cleyon Laing, defensive lineman, on the challenge posed by Winnipeg: “They’re well coached, they have good players, very talented. They’re in a s—ty situation right now and they’re scratching, crawling, trying to do everything to get out. So we have to respect that. Wounded animals are always most dangerous. They’re gonna be ready to fight, they’re gonna be ready to bite. We just got to be able to deliver that first punch and keep swinging.”

BROADCAST INFORMATION

8:30 PM ET | TV (ENG): TSN3 / TSN5 / RDS (French) / CFL+ | Radio: EN: TSN 1200, SiriusXM (ch. 167) | FR: 104,7 FM Outaouais