Blink comes to play

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

A 'Lincoln Locomotive' inspired Winnipeg's little big man.

The Blue Bombers offence sputtered but for one of its best weapons.

And they were certainly thankful that tailback Charles Roberts came to play. With a passion.

Roberts rushed for 154 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries as he led Winnipeg to a 27-13 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in a CFL match at Canad Inns Stadium last night.

Roberts had finally met Bomber legendary running back Leo (the Lincoln Locomotive) Lewis -- the man whose club rushing record he broke earlier this season -- just before the game.

"I told him thanks for setting the bar high for me, and making me really have to work to go after his record," Roberts said. " He told me records are meant to be broken, they're not meant to stand. I joked with him and told him that hopefully, I can add a couple more hundred yards on there and extend the record.

"I also told him that I hope I can play well enough and put it out there far enough that my record can come close to standing as long as his did. It was a great opportunity to meet him."

Lewis was one of the Grey Cup champs who were in town to receive Cup rings that they had never gotten during Winnipeg's Glory Days when they won four CFL championships in five years. But meeting Lewis was only part of his motivation.

"There were a lot of different things that factored into my effort out there," said Roberts, who credited his offensive line. "Not that I don't play with a 100% effort every week but I've always been the guy that kind of sat back and let other guys take leadership roles and let other guys be the motivators on the team. But (yesterday), I was saying to myself that I need to do something to try to put the team on my back.

"(Quarterback) Kevin (Glenn) has done it all year and he needed some relief. I was glad to go out there and be able to give that effort and continue our hopes to be able to clinch first place."

Glenn completed only 15 of 28 passes for 180 yards and two TD tosses, but was only six of 14 for 82 yards and one touchdown, with one interception in the first half.

"It's about time," said centre Obby Khan. "Our offensive line took it on our shoulders to get Charles some rushing yards. He played phenomenal and we just schemed them right ... When he's running, why go anywhere else?

"We wanted to get him 200 yards."

Roberts was forced to leave the game with a quadriceps bruise midway through the fourth quarter but he vowed to play next week.

Roberts also moved back into top spot in the CFL rushing race, passing B.C.'s Joe Smith, who plays tonight. Roberts now has 1,379 yards while Smith has 1,281.

Not only that but Roberts has moved into fifth place on the CFL's all-time rushing list, passing Kelvin Anderson -- who played for both Calgary and B.C.

MAGICAL MILT: It's not as if Milt Stegall needed another reason to gain entry in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, but he added one last night.

Stegall had six catches for 70 yards, which pushed his season total to 1,047. That gave Stegall his 10th season with at least 1,000 yards. Only Terry Vaughn, with 11, had more 1,000-yard campaigns.

Despite the solid outing, Stegall will need a miracle to catch Allen Pitts, the CFL's career receiving yards leader, before the end of the season.

Stegall needs 258 yards in his final two games to pass Pitts, who had 14,891 in his career.

KICKING WOES: Bombers head coach Doug Berry said he will consider changing kickers for next week's game in Toronto after Rob Pikula was 1-for-3 in the field goal department last night.

Pikula missed from 41 yards in the third quarter and was then booed off the field late in the fourth after failing to connect from 39 yards.

Troy Westwood has been scratched from Winnipeg's last three games and four overall this season.

DR. HIGGINS: Stamps head coach Tom Higgins called starting Ben Sankey over Henry Burris "an experiement."

Burris dislocated his left shoulder four weeks ago, but he started last week and was the main reason why the Stamps hammered the Bombers 38-25.

Higgins put Burris back on the bench last night since Calgary is all but destined to finish third in the West Division.

"As the experiment went, it didn't go the way we expected," Higgins said. "We expected to be more competitive.

"... If this was a playoff game, Henry would have played."

LATE HITS: Calgary has lost nine straight games outside of Alberta, dating back to August 2006 ... Stamps receiver Nik Lewis went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the fourth straight season ... In addition to Roberts' injury, Greg Bearman, Brian Guebert and Davin Bush left the game due to injury.


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