A star is born

Bombers QB Ryan Dinwiddie throws against the Stampeders during first quarter action at Canad Inns...

Bombers QB Ryan Dinwiddie throws against the Stampeders during first quarter action at Canad Inns Stadium on Thursday. SUN MEDIA/Jason Halstead

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

They cheered when he ran on the field before the game.

They cheered when he came off the field during time-consuming, yard-munching drives that didn't even result in touchdowns.

They cheered the loudest, however, when Ryan Dinwiddie did something Kevin Glenn failed to do in four tries this season -- guide the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to victory.

Dinwiddie, making the first regular-season start of his career, hooked up with Romby Bryant on a 35-yard touchdown strike with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Bombers a 32-28 win over the Calgary Stampeders last night in front of 26,882 raucous spectators at Canad Inns Stadium.

"It was a play we'd been running a little bit earlier with (Derick) Armstrong," Dinwiddie said. "I decided to put Romby out there because Romby has a little bit more speed and their DB (Brandon Browner) was a little beat up.

"They had man coverage and a single safety. I knew we had a shot at it."

Dinwiddie completed 24 of 39 passes for a whopping 450 yards and the biggest touchdown of the season so far for the Blue and Gold, who improved to 1-4. Calgary fell to 3-2.

Winnipeg visits the Toronto Argonauts next Friday night.

"It feels good just to go out there and get this first win," Dinwiddie said. "Now that we got some momentum rolling, we feel a little bit better about ourselves, and it's just time to go to work. In my book this win's over and done with."

Bryant finished with six catches for a game-high 152 yards and kept up his elusiveness after the game as well, leaving the locker-room even before head coach Doug Berry addressed the team.

The quarterback switch ended up being a shrewd move for Berry, who certainly had his critics for benching Glenn, last year's East Division most outstanding player, just four games into the season.

"I wouldn't have made it if I didn't feel good about it," Berry said. "He's earned it, he's a good quarterback, and he's somebody that I have a lot of trust and faith in.

"He works very, very hard and knew exactly what we wanted to do."

So, too, did the rest of the team, which put in its best collective effort of the season.

"We've been waiting for it," Berry said. "It's too bad for Kevin Glenn, but this was what I was hoping would happen, that the other guys on the offence would say, 'We've got to step our damn game up. Look what it's done for Kevin Glenn.'

"They stepped their game up for Ryan. Ryan did perform well, but a lot of that had to do with some fabulous catches."

The night almost ended in disaster for the Bombers, who allowed Stamps quarterback Henry Burris to find a wide-open Jeremaine Copeland in the end zone with 48 seconds left.

The six-yard touchdown put gave the Stamps their first lead of the game, at 28-25, but it took Dinwiddie only three plays on the game-winning drive to get it back.

Graeme Bell added a one-yard touchdown plunge for the Bombers, while Alexis Serna was 5-for-8 in the field goal department. He hit from 45, 32, 24, 20 and 30 but whiffed from 40, 39 and 42.

Nik Lewis had two touchdown grabs for the Stampeders, and Sandro DeAngleis booted 45- and 23-yard field goals.

Another important stat for the Bombers last night? No turnovers for the first time this season.

That was unlike Dinwiddie's one and only previous start -- last year's Grey Cup loss to Saskatchewan in which he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in a 23-19 loss.

"It was a whole lot different, like night and day," said receiver Terrence Edwards, who had 143 receiving yards. "In his first start he was a little wide-eyed. Tonight he was fully confident. He expected to win tonight. It was very different. His demeanour was different. His leadership in the huddle was different.

"Everything was different about him. He came out and made great plays and got us a victory."


Photos