Pivotal rematch

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

So, this is it.

The season hangs in the balance for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers versus their prairie arch-rival Saskatchewan Roughriders in the second annual Banjo Bowl. Ironically, the game was established with a lot more fun and good-natured trash talking in mind than it is turning out to provide this year. A 3-8 record can do that to a CFL club.

But yes, there is still hope, just as long as other western rivals continue to prove their own ineptitude.

A victory will keep the Bombers in a three-way race for the last western playoff spot and may even give them a shot at a crossover spot, at least for a few more weeks.

But a loss tonight should have even the most faithful fans calling the priest to perform last rites on Winnipeg's dying playoff hopes.

Not that the Bombers can't beat Saskatchewan. In fact, they downed the 'Riders in all three outings last season, and some say that was a better outfit than the one that comes to town tonight.

However, the Roughriders have already beaten the Bombers twice this season and are coming off a 45-26 win in last week's Labour Day Classic.

Tonight's winner, by the way, will get a trophy and $10,000 to be donated to the United Way. Here's a closer look at tonight's encounter:

KEEP AN EYE ON

Saskatchewan No. 19 Corey Holmes

The kick returner has been a Bomber killer in both contests between the two. Holmes opened the scoring last week with an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown and also had a 59-yard kickoff return. He finished the game with four punt returns for 129 yards and one TD and the one kickoff runback. The versatile RB/SB also had three carries for 31 yards and one catch for 32. Holmes had returned the opening kickoff of the season versus the Bombers 81 yards for a TD.

REMEMBER WHEN?

Bomber tailback Charles Roberts rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown to lead Winnipeg to a 27-24 victory in the inaugural Banjo Bowl at Canad Inns Stadium last September? Roberts also caught a 10-yard TD toss from quarterback Kevin Glenn as the Bombers swept their season series versus Saskatchewan.

ESSENTIALS

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

TV/RADIO: CBC (local blackout may be lifted)/CJOB

THE LINE: Saskatchewan favoured by three points

ALL-TIME SERIES: Winnipeg leads 107-75 with three ties.

LAST MEETING

Saskatchewan skewered the Blue Bombers 45-26 in the annual Labour Day Classic in Regina last Sunday.

QUIRKY FACT

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have not won a game in Winnipeg since 1994, losing 11 straight since then. That, of course, means that Danny Barrett has never won a game in Winnipeg as Saskatchewan's head coach. In fact, the Roughriders are 1-14 in the 'Peg since 1991.

THE FINAL SAY

"This group of coaches and this group of players took last week's performance very personally, and we should, this is our job. Our team will rebound with a passion (tonight) ... Our guys are very, very intent on playing football the way we have come to play the last two months."

-- Bombers head coach Jim Daley, still bothered by his squad's lack of toughness last week.


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