Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat BC Lions third straight Grey Cup

WINNIPEG — Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira had 130 yards on 20 carries to lead Winnipeg to a 28-20 win over the BC Lions in the West Division final on Sunday afternoon.

Oliveira also caught four passes for 37 yards in front of 30,319 fans at IG Field.

The Bombers are now one win away from winning three straight CFL championships for the first time in franchise history. And they could win three straight Gray Cup titles for the first time since 1982 (Edmonton) when they face the Toronto Argonauts in the Gray Cup game in Regina next Sunday. The Argos defeated the Montreal Alouettes 34-27 in the East Division final.

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros completed 14 of 20 passes for 178 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to receiver Dalton Schoen, with one interception.

Bombers punt returner Janarion Grant also returned a 92-yard kick for a touchdown and backup quarterback Dakota Prukop scored on a two-yard run.

Winnipeg placekicker Marc Liegghio threw field goals for 44, 24 and 16 yards and made just one of three conversion attempts.

BC quarterback Nathan Rourke completed 20 of 37 passes for 299 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown throw to receiver Alexander Hollins, with two picks. Auxiliary quarterback Antonio Pipkin also scored on a two-yard run.

Sean Whyte threw a 42-yard field goal and threw two converts. Punter Stefan Flintoft also threw a 56-yard single. Returner Terry Williams also scored two points on a missed converted return.

The Lions shot within 28-20 with less than three minutes left. Rourke completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Hollins. Whyte’s convert made it 28-20.

Prukop capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to give Winnipeg a 25-11 lead. However, Lions returner Terry Williams returned Liegghio’s failed convert 126 yards for two to make it 25-13. It was the first missed conversion return for two in CFL playoff history.

The Lions opened the scoring in the second half when Whyte netted a 42-yard field goal on their first down to bring BC to 19-11.

Liegghio hit a 24-yard field goal on the final play of a poorly played first half to give the Bombers a 19-8 lead over BC

Grant made amends for fumbling for the ball when he returned a Stefan Flintoft punt 92 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. The convert from Liegghio gave Winnipeg a 16-7 lead. It was the second-longest punt return in Bombers playoff history. Jason Arnstead returned one for 93 yards in 2008.

Liegghio threw a 44-yard field goal to give the Bombers a 9-7 lead going into the second quarter.

BC took advantage of big breaks on their first possession. First, the command center called off a punt blocked by the Bombers, saying the player who blocked it (linebacker Tanner Cadwallader) should be charged with roughing up the punter.

Then Grant fumbled the ball on a punt return. Lions defensive lineman Mathieu Betts recovered the ball to the Winnipeg eight and returned it to the two. Pipkin then scored on a two-yard run. The Whyte convert gave BC a 7-6 lead.

The Bombers opened the scoring on their first possession. After kicking off, their six-game, 74-yard run was capped off with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Collaros to Schoen. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard completion to Demski. Liegghio missed the convert.

NOTES: The Lions played without dangerous receiver Lucky Whitehead. … Bombers wide receiver Rasheed Bailey started after being a playing time decision.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 13, 2022.

Leave a Comment