Banjo Bowl Blue's

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are showing some serious pluck these days. A month ago, the Blue and Gold were basically left for dead. They were 2-5, they had just fired their head coach and signs of hope were as prevalent as hot summer days.

Today, the Bombers find themselves in a new position -- on a modest winning streak and all alone in a playoff spot.

Charles Roberts rushed 22 times for 159 yards and a touchdown and he also hauled in a 10-yard pass from Kevin Glenn for a major as the Bombers held off the Saskatchewan Roughriders 27-24 yesterday in the inaugural Banjo Bowl.

BOMBERS 27 ROUGHRIDERS 24

"It's like my birthday every time I play them," said Roberts, who has cleared the 100-yard mark in four of his last five regular-season games against the 'Riders.

The victory, in front of a season-high crowd of 27,160 at Canad Inns Stadium, was Winnipeg's second over Saskatchewan in just eight days. The Bombers beat the Roughriders 17-4 in last Sunday's Labour Day Classic and are now all alone in third place in the West Division with a 5-7 record, one game up on the 4-8 'Riders, who have lost three straight.

Winnipeg hosts the Toronto Argonauts (6-4-1) on Saturday.

"Going into that Labour Day game we wanted to establish a playoff run," said Glenn, who was 15-of-28 for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in beating his former team for the second straight week. "We got two and we're going to go for this third one against Toronto."

The Bombers also beat the Roughriders on July 8 to sweep the season series. That flies in the face of Roughriders GM Roy Shivers, who spoke critical words about the Bombers earlier this season, and gives the Blue and Gold some hope.

"We're over a hurdle," Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "We're at a point now hopefully where we're starting to get an identity. ... We're more focused than early in the year, when we were almost panicking to get back up in the win-loss column.

"Three (wins) against Saskatchewan, that's not a bad team. We gotta take that as an extremely positive sign, that maybe (Saskatchewan GM) Mr. (Roy) Shivers doesn't know what he's talking about."

The Bombers took a 24-15 lead early in the third quarter when Roberts scored on a 20-yard run, but three of Paul McCallum's five field goals got the Roughriders to within one, at 25-24, with three minutes left in the game.

That's when the Winnipeg defence, which didn't have its best outing and allowed 419 yards of total offence, came up big. Saskatchewan quarterback Henry Burris, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 243 yards, a touchdown and an interception, scrambled on third-and-15 with 1:09 left but got only 13 yards.

On the other side of the ball, Winnipeg's 426 yards of total offence -- its second-best output of the season -- has Brown feeling fine.

"Now we got an offence to rely on when the defence doesn't show up in the first half," he said. "It's a good set of circumstances right now, but we'll have to see if we can count on them for a third win in a row."


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