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Dru Brown gets start for Blue Bombers at Lions

Aug 25, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN;  Winnipeg Blue Bombers wide receiver Nic Demski (10) celebrates after a run during the second half against the Calgary Stampeders at IG Field. Winnipeg wins 31-29. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s 48-11 rout of Edmonton clinched the West Division title for the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Head coach Mike O’Shea is already taking a big-picture look at the final three regular season games, beginning with Saturday night’s trip to Vancouver for a date with the B.C. Lions.

Starting quarterback Zach Collaros will not play due to rest, which means that second-year pro Dru Brown will draw the start. Brown has earned meaningful playing time before, leading a game-winning drive in Week 1 in Ottawa, but this is his first CFL start.

Brown got a bit of playing time last week and completed his only pass to Dalton Schoen for a 65-yard touchdown.

“I think Dru’s going to be a really good player for a long time,” said Collaros. “He’s been very inquisitive of how the CFL game works and how different offenses around the league work. He’s a football junkie. He sees the field really well.”

While Winnipeg (14-2) uses the next four weeks to get ready for its division final at home on Nov. 13, B.C. (10-5) is coming off a 23-20 loss last week in Toronto. The Lions are tied with Calgary for second place in the West but trending in the wrong direction.

B.C. hasn’t been close to the same since star quarterback Nathan Rourke (foot) was injured in August. Rourke, who had 25 touchdown passes and no interceptions when he went down, practiced this week for the first time since the injury.

Vernon Adams remains the starter for now, but continues to be sacked at an alarming rate. His sack rate of 12.5 percent is the highest in the CFL.

“It’s just a matter of everybody functioning together,” said Lions coach Rick Campbell. “We want to have the right plays called, we want to mix things up. We want to protect well.”

Winnipeg routed B.C. 43-22 on July 9 in Vancouver as Collaros threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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