REGINA — Zach Collaros and the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offence found life in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 31-23 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday in the Labour Day Classic.
Trailing by three after three quarters, Collaros marched the Riders down the field on a pair of touchdown drives. He finished 18 of 30 for 250 yards in the air with a TD and an interception.
His counterpart Matt Nichols had his Labour Day streak of 300-yards passing in a game snapped. The previous two seasons he had surpassed that mark. He managed just 166 passing yards with a TD and two picks.
The Riders (6-4) moved into a tie with the Edmonton Eskimos for second place in the West Division. Edmonton will play the first-place Calgary Stampeders (8-1) on Monday.
The Blue Bombers (5-6) dropped their third straight game for the first time since 2015.
Saskatchewan has won 12 of the past 13 Labour Day contests versus Winnipeg.
Marcus Thigpen used his speed to blow past the Winnipeg secondary and catch a go-ahead touchdown pass from Collaros early in the deciding quarter. The scoring play covered 25 yards and gave the Riders a 24-20 lead.
A Justin Medlock field goal brought Winnipeg to within one at 24-23 with seven minutes remaining, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
The second Roughriders touchdown of the quarter came after Collaros hooked up with Jorden Williams-Lambert for a 39-yard pass and catch that brought the Riders to the Winnipeg two-yard line. Two plays later, Nick Marshall scored on a one-yard touchdown run to put Saskatchewan up 31-23.
The Saskatchewan defence wasted no time making its presence felt early in the game.
Matt Elam intercepted a deflected pass attempt and returned it to the Winnipeg one-yard line. One play later, Marshall, a defensive back and short yardage specialist, scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
Winnipeg responded with a 50-yard field goal from Justin Medlock and, on their first possession of the second quarter, took a 10-7 lead after a Kenbrell Thompkins touchdown reception.
Kyran Moore, playing in just his second game with the Riders, ignited the sold-out crowd with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown. The score put the home side ahead 14-10.
Darvin Adams and the Blue Bombers picked up a late TD when the receiver hauled in a 10-yard pass from backup quarterback Chris Streveler.
Winnipeg led 17-14 at the half.
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter and Winnipeg took a slim 20-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
CFL rushing leader Andrew Harris had 158 yards rushing, including 105 yards in the first half. He led the league in rushing in 2017.
Medlock kicked three field goals for Winnipeg.
Saskatchewan’s Charleston Hughes picked up his league-leading 13th sack, marking the eighth consecutive game he has recorded at least one sack.