Western Division rivals clash, as Bombers host Lions

Oct 22, 2014 - 3:52 PM Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork.com) - The only two teams in the West Division that are currently on the outside looking in as far as the Grey Cup Playoffs are concerned, British Columbia and Winnipeg are set to collide in a heated matchup on Saturday at Investors Group Field.

Were the Lions a member of the East Division, they'd be in first place right now, while Winnipeg would be just a few points off the pace, but the teams are stuck in the highly-competitive West Division instead, where Calgary has already locked up the title, and both Edmonton and Saskatchewan are making plans for the postseason as well.

British Columbia has been sporadic at best in 2014, winning no more than three games in a row and also just having snapped a three-game slide with a 41-3 romp over Ottawa on Oct. 11.

During the meeting with the RedBlacks, a squad that is the lowest scoring in the league and has but two wins in 15 opportunities, Kevin Glenn completed 20- of-27 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns, one of those aerial majors going to running back Keola Antolin who not only caught three balls for 45 yards, he also registered a game-high 157 yards on 17 carries as well.

The Lions rolled up a massive 548 yards of total offense in the contest, while limiting the visitors to just 243 yards, not to mention benefiting from Ottawa's 10 penalties for a loss of 94 yards.

As for Winnipeg, this has been a tale of two seasons, with the team opening up with three straight victories and five in the first six games, but then losing nine of the next 10. Since defeating Montreal at home during Week 9 action in August, the Bombers have bombed out with a seven-game losing streak, culminating with a 33-23 setback versus Calgary last weekend that dropped them out of playoff contention.

Against the league-leading Stampeders, it wasn't until the end of the third quarter that Winnipeg was finally able to get into the end zone, courtesy of a 35-yard run by Paris Cotton. Cotton added a 10-yard major in the fourth frame and finished with 14 carries for 108 yards, taking over for Nic Grigsby who earlier in the week asked for his release from the Bombers after being dropped on the depth chart.

Unfortunately, the strong performance by Cotton was overshadowed by the fact that starting quarterback Brian Brohm suffered a broken thumb and will need surgery. Before exiting, Brohm converted 14-of-23 passes for 194 yards. Robert Marve, a product of Purdue, stepped in and converted half of his 10 passes for 64 yards.

Unless there's a drastic change to the roster in the coming days, Marve could be making his first career CFL start, after making his very first appearance last weekend. As of Wednesday morning, the only other quarterback on the active roster for the Blue Bombers was Josh Portis, who was acquired via trade from Toronto in the middle of July.

Drew Willy is still taking up a spot on the one-game injured list as of Tuesday night, so needless to say, the quarterback spot in Winnipeg is in flux at the moment.

On the season, the Winnipeg passing attack is third in the league in yards with 4,055, almost three hundred yards ahead of the Lions, but all of that action for the Bombers has resulted in only 13 TDs, compared to 15 interceptions. Glenn by himself has 16 majors through the air for British Columbia.

In terms of scoring, these two teams could not be more evenly matched, with Winnipeg putting up 22.3 ppg and the Lions registering 22.2 ppg. While identifying a signal caller for this week might pose the biggest issue for the Bombers currently, it is the running attack that has been a problem this season for the most part, as the team averages a league-low 76.4 ypg on the ground, even with Grigsby having done so much damage all on his own.

As far as the all-time series is concerned, one that takes into consideration only regular-season bouts dating back to 1954, the Bombers own an 84-76-2 advantage. However, the Lions won the most recent matchup last month in Vancouver by a score of 26-9, which means BC has taken five of the last six encounters.

During that Sept. 13 meeting at BC Place, the Bombers scored the first points of the contest on a 17-yard field goal by Lirim Hajrullahu in the first quarter, but by halftime the visitors trailed by double figures and never recovered.

Glenn converted 20-of-27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, surviving three sacks, as the Lions generated 424 yards of total offense, compared to a mere 178 yards for Winnipeg. Kept out of the end zone, the Bombers saw quarterbacks Drew Willy and Brian Brohm combined to convert 16-of-28 passes for 121 yards, with the duo being sacked three times.

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