Saskatchewan 29 Winnipeg 14
REGINA — Adarius Bowman did all he could to show up his former team in his return to Mosaic Stadium on Sunday.
Bowman hauled in five passes for a game-high 121 yards, but it wasn’t enough as the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 29-14 in the 2009 Labour Day Classic.
“It was all right,” the sophomore wide receiver, who was traded to Winnipeg from Saskatchewan in the off-season, said of his performance. “It would have been a lot nicer to get the win. I had a decent game but it could have been a lot better.”
There were high expectations in Saskatchewan for the Oklahoma State graduate last season and after Bowman caught six passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in his first-ever CFL game against Edmonton.
Those expectations started to drop, along with numerous passes thrown his way. He was put on the nine-game disabled list with a leg injury and missed the last half of the 2008 season. He finished the year with 23 receptions for 358 yards.
Bowman was fairly quiet on the field this season as well with 17 receptions for 195 yards. But he started making noise Sunday when he took a 38-yard Michael Bishop pass to the Saskatchewan one-yard line with a one second remaining in the second quarter.
He stepped up again midway through the third quarter when he took a short crossing pattern 50 yards to Saskatchewan’s 17-yard line. He caught his first touchdown pass of the season two plays later with Roughriders’ defensive back Eddie Davis all over him.
“I think it was a little bit of his coming-out party,” said Bombers head coach Mike Kelly. “We’ve been anticipating him being a play maker for us and I think he did a nice job today. He made some nice adjustments on routes and Michael was able to find him and he showed what kind of skills he has.”
Bowman and the rest of the receiving corps were forced to come up big for the Bombers as their running game was shut down during the afternoon contest. Fred Reid, who predicted he would have a 300-yard game, was held to only 41 yards on the ground.
He was also stopped by Luc Mullinder and John Chick from the one-yard line on the last play of the second quarter that would have cut Saskatchewan’s lead to 18-11 and given Winnipeg momentum at half-time.
Bishop struggled with a one-dimensional offence completing 20 of 33 passes for 329 yards and throwing three interceptions.
“We can’t afford turn the ball over that many times,” Kelly said of Winnipeg’s six turnovers. “We played against a team that I admire. They play the game hard and they play the game the way it’s supposed to be played and we can’t afford to turn it over like that.”