The third annual Banjo Bowl will be played in town this Sunday and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will welcome their Prairie cousins, missing teeth and all, for a CFL duel at Canad Inns Stadium.
Winnipeg plays host to the Roughriders, seeking revenge for a devastating 39-12 loss to Saskatchewan in last Sunday's Labour Day Classic in Regina, and there are three players on each side who could break the game open. So, here is a look at three potential game-breakers to be wearing Saskatchewan Green and three who will wear Manitoba Blue.
The 'Turtle Man' has enjoyed some big days against the 'Riders. In fact, Stegall led the Bombers with four receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown in the 2005 season-opener. He then caught four passes for 125 yards and a TD in the losing cause to Saskatchewan during that Labour Day Classic loss. But the 6-foot, 190-pound veteran slotback was held to only nine yards on one catch the following week.
After missing the previous three games with cracked ribs, Stegall resumes his pursuit of becoming the CFL's all-time TD king. He is just three short of tying it after latching on to another touchdown catch against Saskatchewan on Sunday and needs four to break it. Stegall caught four passes for 37 yards versus Saskatchewan but dropped one.
The Winnipeg tailback has been hot and cold versus the Roughriders over the years. The 5-foot-6, 170-pound Sacramento State product opened the year with only 15 yards rushing on eight lugs versus Saskatchewan last season. But Roberts broke out with an 87-yard game on 14 carries during the Labour Day loss, adding 30 yards on three catches.
Roberts was held to 58 yards on 13 rushes in the Banjo Bowl, although he did catch four passes for 56 yards.
Roberts, however, was hot both on the field and off it two weeks ago. The CFL's leading rusher last season gained 120 yards on 21 carries against Toronto but was so upset with the loss that he made himself scarce as soon as the head coach's post-game address had ended.
Roberts rushed for 90 yards against Saskatchewan last week, gaining much of it in garbage time, and added one catch for seven yards. He also dropped a catchable pass.
ALBERT JOHNSON III
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound kick returner/receiver broke out in a big way against Toronto two weeks ago. Johnson, who had quietly led all punt returners most of the first half, returned six punts for 92 yards, two kickoffs for 101 and a 46-yard missed field goal return. Johnson, however, was held to 64 yards on three kickoff returns and 40 yards on five punt returns against Saskatchewan last week.
The running back has been a single-handed Bomber killer at times in the past and the speedster has been hot lately. Keith had a breakout game against Hamilton three weeks ago as the 5-foot-10, 195-pound New Mexico State product rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries and added two catches for another 101 yards and a third TD.
Keith continued that streak as he rushed for 89 yards on 15 carries in the 39-12 shellacking of Winnipeg and added another 58 yards on five receptions.
In last year's Labour Day Classic, Keith racked up a total of 170 yards on only 17 carries as the Roughriders ravaged Winnipeg 45-26. The following week, Keith covered 83 yards on 13 rushes as Saskatchewan slipped by the Bombers 19-17 in the second annual Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg.
But the Bombers can stop Keith. They held him to only 57 yards on 15 carries despite dropping the 2005 season-opener 42-15 to the Roughriders in Regina.
Every season, it seems, there is a certain Saskatchewan receiver who enjoys his best games against the Bombers. And last year, that sleeper was Jason French. The non-import receiver caught five passes for 82 yards in that season-opener. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Murray State product then followed that up with three passes for 26 yards in the Labour Day Classic victory. He added four catches for 55 yards in the Banjo Bowl win as Saskatchewan swept their prairie rivals.
Although French had only one catch last Sunday, it covered 35 yards.
The defensive end continued to dominate the opposing offensive line when the Roughies ravaged the Bombers last Sunday. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Southern, Ark., product was in Winnipeg quarterback Kevin Glenn's face all night, although he only managed one sack. That gives him 10 on the season and second only to B.C. defensive end Brent Johnson in the CFL sack race.
Winnipeg -- Milt Stegall, Chris Brazzell 5
Saskatchewan -- Jason Armstead 6
Winnipeg -- Kevin Glenn 135-for-240, 2,033 yards, 10 TDs, 7 Int
Saskatchewan -- Kerry Joseph 175-for-302, 2,305 yards, 14 TDs, 8 int
Winnipeg -- Milt Stegall 54
Saskatchewan -- Matt Dominguez 47
Winnipeg -- Milt Stegall 893
Saskatchewan -- Matt Dominguez 762
Winnipeg -- Charles Roberts 951
Saskatchewan -- Kenton Keith 696
KICKOFF RETURN YARDS
Winnipeg -- Albert Johnson 696
Saskatchewan -- Dominique Dorsey 616
PUNT RETURN YARDS
Winnipeg -- Albert Johnson 532
Saskatchewan -- Dominique Dorsey 326
MISSED FIELD GOAL RETURN YARDS
Winnipeg -- Albert Johnson 79
Saskatchewan -- Dominique Dorsey 63
ALL PURPOSE YARDS
Winnipeg -- Albert Johnson 1,358
Saskatchewan -- Dominique Dorsey 1,217
YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE
Winnipeg -- Charles Roberts 1,253
Saskatchewan -- Kenton Keith 989
Winnipeg -- Troy Westwood 44.0 avg.
Saskatchewan -- Luca Congi 37.5 avg.
Winnipeg -- Troy Westwood 60.2 avg.
Saskatchewan -- Luca Congi 49.1 avg.
Winnipeg -- Troy Westwood 87 points
Saskatchewan -- Luca Congi 104 points
Winnipeg -- Troy Westwood 19-for-25 (76%)
Saskatchewan -- Luca Congi 23-for-25 (92%)
Winnipeg -- Ike Charlton 2
Saskatchewan -- Eddie Davis 3
Winnipeg -- Tom Canada 7
Saskatchewan -- Fred Perry 12
Winnipeg -- Barrin Simpson 68
Saskatchewan -- Reggie Hunt 58
SPECIAL TEAMS TACKLES
Winnipeg -- Shawn Gallant 13
Saskatchewan -- Dustin Cherniawski 13
TACKLES FOR LOSSES
Winnipeg -- Ike Charlton 24
Saskatchewan -- Fred Perry 6
Winnipeg -- Stanford Samuels 3
Saskatchewan -- Davin Bush, Rontarius Robinson 3
Winnipeg -- Stanford Samuels 5
Saskatchewan -- Almondo Curry, Fred Perry 6