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Blue Bombers take aim at Stampeders after first loss

Dec 12, 2021; Hamilton, Ontario, CAN;   Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros (8) throws a pass against Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the 108th Grey Cup football game at Tim Hortons Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Maier will replace Bo Levi Mitchell as the starting quarterback when the Calgary Stampeders visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday night.

Maier took over from Mitchell in the second half Saturday and was 14-for-18 passing for 156 yards in a 22-19 comeback victory over the host Toronto Argonauts.

Maier was effective against Winnipeg last season, going 30-for-39 passing for 307 yards.

The Blue Bombers (9-1) have won both meetings this season with the Stampeders (6-3) — a 26-19 decision at Winnipeg on July 15 and a 35-28 victory at Calgary on July 30.

Trailing 19-10 late in the third quarter against the Argonauts, Calgary had a big lift when Elie Bouka returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown.

“We were dead to rights,” Stampeders coach Dave Dickenson said. “Had no momentum, they had everything going. It looked like it was very bleak for the Calgary Stampeders and that play really turned the tides.”

The Blue Bombers are coming off a bye week following their first loss of the season, 20-17 in overtime to the visiting Montreal Alouettes on Aug. 11.

Winnipeg kicker Marc Liegghio missed a 32-yard field goal attempt at the end of regulation time that would have won the game. Liegghio then hit the upright on a 37-yard attempt that would have tied the game in overtime.

“You can’t keep it with you for the rest of the week or your week is going to (stink) or you’re going to bring it to the next game,” Liegghio said.

Blue Bombers coach Mike O’Shea said he has faith in Liegghio.

“Confidence is very high,” O’Shea said.

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros feels that the team’s first loss of the season could be a lesson.

“Maybe just a refresher, for the young guys especially — there’s a lot of parity in this league,” Collaros said. “You need to go out there and make your plays when the plays are there. Anybody can be beat. Sometimes, you just need to get hit in the mouth for a reminder of that.”

–Field Level Media