Roughriders top Blue Bombers in pre-season finale
WINNIPEG — Craig Dickenson didn't need to watch much of Trevor Harris to be satisfied with the Saskatchewan Roughriders' new quarterback.
The head coach saw Harris make a brief - but perfect - appearance as the visitors downed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28-16 in pre-season action Friday night.
The team's big free-agent acquisition completed all four of his pass attempts and tossed a touchdown pass to Derel Walker before making way for Mason Fine.
“Solid. Solid,” Dickenson said of Harris. “We had a few things we wanted him to do and he was able to do most of those so we got him out early because we really wanted to look at those other quarterbacks.”
The former Montreal Alouettes QB guided his new offence on its first possession to a nine-play, 83-yard TD drive that ended with Walker's five-yard TD catch at 7:46.
“I was happy to get out there,” Harris said. “Lost an argument on the sideline with Craig to play some more, but at the same time I get it. I understand where he's coming from.”
Dickenson said he hadn't made a decision on the team's backup quarterback. Fine ended the night 9-of-13 passing for 86 yards. Jake Dolegala completed five of six passes for 49 yards.
Saskatchewan played most of its projected starters, while the Blue Bombers sat key players on both sides of the ball and it showed in front of a crowd of 24,654 at IG Field.
Winnipeg starting quarterback Zach Collaros didn't play in his second straight exhibition game, while receivers Dalton Schoen and Nic Demski also missed the contest.
On defence, Bombers defensive back Deatrick Nichols was absent, defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat is injured and middle linebacker Adam Bighill hasn't practised during training camp.
Saskatchewan led 6-0 after the first quarter, 15-3 at halftime and 21-9 after the third.
While Dru Brown started for Winnipeg at quarterback, it was replacement Tyrrell Pigrome who got the crowd's attention.
Pigrome, who's fighting for the third quarterback spot, got in during the third quarter and showed his scrambling strength again and guided the Bombers to two TDs.
The Alabama native engineered a nine-play, 70-drive capped by a five-yard TD catch by Amare Jones at 9:25 of the third. Chandler Stanton missed the convert and Saskatchewan's lead was cut in half to 18-9.
Pigrome also handed off the ball to Jordan Salima, who ran four yards untouched into the end zone at 1:40 of the fourth. Marc Liegghio's convert made it 21-16.
Pigrome then made way for Josh Jones and finished 5-of-6 passing for 65 yards, along with five carries for 43 yards.
“I'm taking everything that they teach me and I'm trying to put it on the field,” Pigrome said of Collaros and Brown, who completed eight of 15 pass attempts for 69 yards.
If he cracks the lineup, he thinks he's got a lot more to offer.
“I haven't shown my best yet. I'm still learning,” said Pigrome, who ran for a 45-yard TD and was good on a QB sneak in Winnipeg's first pre-season game.
Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea liked his players' effort and was impressed by Pigrome again.
“He's electric,” O'Shea said. “He's extremely tough to bring down. He makes plays, which is pretty neat to watch.”
Roughriders veteran placekicker Brett Lauther had a rough first half, missing two converts and a field goal, but he made up for it by connecting on kicks from 51, 32 and 33 yards.
Bombers placekicker Sergio Castillo hit a 29-yard field goal at 1:38 of the second quarter.
Saskatchewan short-yardage quarterback Shea Patterson plunged in for a one-yard TD with 4:10 left in the fourth. David Solie made the convert for the 28-16 lead.
“Us losing at home is a sad feeling there, but it is pre-season,” Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson said. “It really was like an evaluation game for us. The guys who did play got in there and played some good snaps, made some plays.”
NOTES: The Bombers were auditioning three punters, including returnee Liegghio and global players Jamieson Sheahan and Karl Schmitz ... Bombers defensive back Matt Cole showed some fleet feet, returning a missed Roughriders' kick 64 yards. The rookie out of Illinois also took a kickoff return 20 yards until a Winnipeg illegal block penalty called it back.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2023.