Back on track

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Charles Roberts is back, and so too, it appears, are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Bombers' diminutive but dangerous tailback ran wild last night, carrying the ball 16 times for a season-high 154 yards and a touchdown to spark the Blue and Gold to a much-needed, 27-13 triumph over the Calgary Stampeders.

The victory, in front of a season-low crowd of 23,955 at Canad Inns Stadium, snapped the Bombers' two-game losing streak and pushed them three points ahead of the Toronto Argonauts in the race for top spot in the East Division.

The Argos (8-7) visit the Montreal Alouettes (7-8) this afternoon. Regardless of what happens in that match, Winnipeg (9-6-1) can clinch first place in the East for the first time since 2001 with a win next Saturday in Toronto.

"That was a well-played game," slotback Milt Stegall said. "It was a good victory for us. We needed this to get back on a winning note.

"Now we can relax a little bit. All you guys (in the media) had us uptight, but now we can relax a little bit. We take care of our business next week, and there we go."

Roberts, who only four weeks ago had six carries for seven yards in a game against the Argos, racked up 66 yards in the first half and really poured it on in the second. He had three carries for 44 yards on a drive early in the fourth quarter and capped it with a five-yard touchdown run that gave the hosts a commanding 19-6 lead.

Stegall added the 144th touchdown of his career with a six-yard reception on Winnipeg's next drive to put the game out of reach.

Roberts likely would have had more yards were it not for a left quadriceps bruise suffered on the play before Stegall's touchdown. Roberts, who said he'll play in Toronto next week, was happy to have played a major role in the victory.

"Today I was talking to myself, thinking to myself real deeply, and saying to myself that I need to do something to try to put the team on my back," Roberts said. "Kevin has done it all year, and he needed some relief."

Since the Stampeders (7-8-1) have all but locked up third place in the West Division, head coach Tom Higgins might have given Winnipeg a gift by resting Henry Burris, who torched the Bombers last Sunday for five touchdowns in a 38-25 win, and went with Ben Sankey instead.

Sankey moved the ball early against the Bomber defence but couldn't find the end zone. He completed completed 22 of 39 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown.

Winnipeg defensive back Kelly Malveaux said the Bombers earned last night's victory even though they were playing against a backup.

"No, no, no. It wasn't a gimme," Malveaux said. "I don't think they approached it that way either."

Middle linebacker Barrin Simpson, meanwhile, is fired up to lead the Bombers to their first division final in six years.

"We've got to get into playoff mode and ride it out to the Grey Cup," Simpson said. "That's our attitude. Everybody was writing us off, saying this team is folding, the sky is falling and the ship is sinking."

Glenn completed 15 of 28 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His other major was a 17-yard pass to Terrence Edwards in the first quarter.

Winnipeg's Rob Pikula booted a 25-yard field goal and added three singles on 41- and 39-yard field goals and a punt into the endzone.

Calgary's Sandro DeAngelis kicked field goals from 25 and 24 yards, and Brett Ralph had a three-yard touchdown catch in the final minute.


Videos

Photos