Winnipeg Blue Bombers stay undefeated with win over Edmonton

Winnipeg WR Dalton Schoen #83 heads into the end zone chased by Edmonton DB Duron Carter #8 Photo: Canadian Press

EDMONTON — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers continued their perfect season with a 24-10 road win over the Edmonton Elks on Friday night at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Bombers improve to 7-0, while the Elks drop to 2-5 as their long search for a home win continues.

Winnipeg Quarterback Zach Collaros completed seven of 16 passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Bomber Receiver Dalton Schoen led all players with 146 yards on just four catches, including an 81-yard touchdown.

Rasheed Bailey gave Winnipeg an early lead with a 26-yard touchdown catch, while the Bombers backup quarterback Thick Brown helped seal the win late in the fourth quarter with a short touchdown run.

Bombers fired Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius five times, and defensive back Deatrick Nichols had a key interception that led to Winnipeg’s first touchdown.

Cornelius completed 25 of 42 passes for 270 yards with an interception, while the former Winnipeg receiver Kenny Lawler led the Elks with 98 yards on seven catches.

The game was broadcast live in Cree on Edmonton and Calgary radio stations, marking the first time in league history that a game was broadcast in an Indigenous language.

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The Bombers opened the scoring early in the first quarter by converting a turnover into a touchdown. Nichols knocked out Cornelius on Edmonton’s opening possession after the pass was deflected by the linebacker Clement Malik. Collaros took over in Edmonton territory and seized the opportunity by throwing a nice touchdown pass to Bailey on the next play.

Collaros was able to squeeze the pass into tight coverage on the defensive back’s helmet Treston Decoudgiving Bailey his first touchdown of the season. Marc Lieggio kicked off the convert to give Winnipeg a 7-0 lead.

Former Winnipeg Kicker Sergio Castillo put Edmonton on the board later in the first quarter with a 52-yard field goal.

Collaros responded on the ensuing drive with a 40-yard completion to Schoen to move the ball into the red zone. But the Bombers eventually settled for a 20-yard field goal from Liegghio after the Edmonton defense made a big save.

Castillo closed in on Edmonton in the second quarter with a field goal from 44 yards, reducing Winnipeg’s lead to four points.

Edmonton’s defense stepped up with less than two minutes left in the second quarter, as linebacker Tobi Antiga took off Collaros near midfield. It was Collaros’ first interception since Week 4.

But Winnipeg’s defense ended the ensuing drive and forced a punt after Cornelius was sacked by linebacker Adam Big Hill on second down for a loss of seven yards.

The Bombers offense got the ball back with just over a minute left at halftime, and Collaros took advantage by connecting to Schoen for an 81-yard touchdown.

Collaros extended play with his legs to escape the pass rush and complete the pass, and Schoen broke away while gaining 41 yards after the catch for the score. Liegghio added the convert to give Winnipeg a 17-6 lead early in the second half.

The Elks took the lead in the third quarter with a 27-yard field goal from Castillo. Edmonton added a single later in the quarter after Castillo’s 48-yard field goal attempt was overshot and downed in the end zone, reducing Winnipeg’s lead to seven points.

Elks defensive back Duron Carter made a big play to start the fourth quarter when he intercepted an underpass from Collaros, but the Edmonton offense was once again unable to convert the turnover into points.

Brown extended a Bombers drive late in the fourth with a stealthy quarterback on third down, and he capped it with a two-yard touchdown three plays later. Liegghio kicked the convert to give Winnipeg a 14-point lead with less than three minutes left.

Winnipeg’s defense closed out the win by forcing back-to-back turnovers on the downs.

Week 8 will see the Blue Bombers travel to face the Calgary Stampeders on July 30 at 7 p.m. ET. The Elks will have a week off before traveling to face the BC Lions in Week 9 on August 6.

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