Late turnovers sink Bombers
WINNIPEG—Corey Chamblin watched his Roughriders fight for a Grey Cup victory last year, but the Saskatchewan coach said last night’s 23-17 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was a gutsy performance he’ll never forget.
“It was tougher than any Grey Cup I’ve been in and all the other things, in terms of us just battling,” Chamblin noted.
“Just happy for us to win that game,” Chamblin added.
“That’s huge, that’s probably the biggest of my career.”
With Winnipeg leading 17-16, Saskatchewan cornerback Terrell Maze intercepted Drew Willy and ran 28 yards for a touchdown with 2:20 to go.
Saskatchewan (4-2) then tried a two-point passing play following Maze’s TD, but Darian Durant’s pass was incomplete and the score stayed 22-17.
Then on Winnipeg’s next series after the Maze TD, Willy was intercepted by defensive back Mark Legree, who also had a first-quarter pick.
With his teammates yelling around him in the locker-room afterwards, calling him “amazing,” Maze said the defence never lost hope.
“Everybody stuck together, we never gave up,” Maze stressed.
“We were in the zone, I was the lone man,” he noted.
“I wouldn’t want to say I baited [Willy] but I was hoping he threw it.”
Willy blamed himself for the costly mistake.
“Can’t throw in the flat like that late, that’s the reason we lost,” Willy said.
And he said he’ll take full responsibility and try to improve.
“It stings to let the guys down like that,” Willy said.
The turnover came after the Bombers (5-2) had gained the upper hand when receiver Rory Kohlert got behind a defender and hauled in a 12-yard pass from Willy in the end zone to go up 17-16 with 5:25 left.
His two-point convert attempt was unsuccessful in front of Winnipeg’s first sell-out crowd of the season of 33,234 loud fans at Investors Group Field.
Willy completed 23-of-39 pass attempts for 303 yards, three interceptions, and one TD.
Durant was 13-of-21 for 115 yards, with no interceptions and no TDS.
Bombers’ head coach Mike O’Shea said the turnovers were costly, but they did have time to try to pull out another late victory as they’ve done twice before this season.
“We’re down with [some] time on the clock, we’ve got the ball back, and we’ve still got the chance to possibly win it,” O’Shea noted.
“So a couple other games we did that and this one we didn’t.”
But he wasn’t coming down hard on Willy.
“Drew is committed to be being the best quarterback he can possibly be so this doesn’t change,” O’Shea stressed.
Saskatchewan had won 11 of the last 13 games between the two clubs heading into the game.
The teams play each other two more times this season—next in the Labour Day Classic in Regina and then a week later in Winnipeg for the Banjo Bowl.