With Muamba, lots of turnover for Bombers
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Bombers middle linebacker Henoc Muamba celebrates a big play during Winnipeg's win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
WINNIPEG - He is turning into a lean, mean fumble forcing machine.
And it looks like he can play a little linebacker, too.
Winnipeg middle linebacker Henoc Muamba had a terrific showing on Friday night in the 34-12 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He hit five of the seven columns on the defensive stat sheet, which is quite a feat.
His final line was five tackles, one special teams tackle, one sack, one forced fumble and one knockdown. The knockdown probably could have been an interception, too, which basically would have made it a perfect performance.
“It was his best game,” head coach Tim Burke said Saturday. “He’s been progressing. He’s been getting better every week. Now he’s taking big steps every week. He made a lot of plays.
“What we saw from college is what we’re starting to get now. If he keeps going, he can be a really good player in this league.”
The first overall pick from the 2011 draft is never satisfied, however, because he wasn’t ready to proclaim it his best game — even though it was by a mile.
“I don’t know,” Muamba said. “I’d have to look at the film again, but there’s still a few plays I wish I had back. But it was all around a pretty good game. We played pretty physical, and we showed up today.”
Muamba is making a name for himself as an elite fumble forcer. He already has five this season, which is one shy of the Bomber record held by Daved Benefield. The CFL single-season record is eight, shared by Joe Montford and John Grace. The stat has been kept since 1994.
“I didn’t know that, but I’m just trying to play aggressive and I’m definitely going to go after the ball for the rest of the season,” he said.
Muamba, who leads the Bombers with 12 special teams tackles, forced two fumbles against the Ticats on Aug. 16, and Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris mentioned on Thursday that the former St. Francis-Xavier star might be the league’s top ball stripper.
“I didn’t hear any of that, but it’s good,” Muamba said. “It’s just a matter of being aggressive, and especially when you’re coming from behind. It’s a good time to go for the ball at the same time as the tackle.”
FORCES OF NATURE
The most forced fumbles in a single season by a Bomber:
Player FF Year
Daved Benefield 6 2003
Kyries Hebert 5 2006
Henoc Muamba 5 2012
Maurice Kelly 4 1998
Morris Lolar 4 1998
Doug Brown 4 2004
Odell Willis 4 2010
Odell Willis 4 2011
Marcellus Bowman 4 2011