About the time Mike Riley’s current team was stuck in the lowest depths of an ultimately insurmountable deficit, his former team was raking its bitter rival over the coals.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers had an afternoon to forget on the road in Oregon on Saturday, a result that head coach Riley said should make the players “sick” upon reviewing film.
While that was going on, about 1,600 miles away, the team that Riley coached to its last Grey Cup victory in 1990, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, were putting the boots to their neighbours, with a 48-28 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the annual Banjo Bowl.
In contextualizing the inter-provincial rivalry, when you think Manitoba and Saskatchewan, think Nebraska and Iowa. (A former Blue Bombers player started the Banjo Bowl rivalry by calling Saskatchewan fans “a bunch of banjo-pickin’ inbreds. Then, in a half-hearted apology said his remarks weren’t accurate because “the vast majority of the people in Saskatchewan have no idea how to play the banjo.” So, yeah).
But we digress.
Riley coached the Bombers from 1987 to 1990, winning two CFL titles at the helm. And his former team leads us off in the weekly round-up of The South Comes North: Huskers in the CFL.
Winnipeg 48, Saskatchewan 28
With former Husker Jermarcus Hardrick starting his 27th straight game in a Blue Bombers uniform at right tackle, Winnipeg avenged a loss last week in Regina, rushing for 138 yards on 23 carries to move to 8-3 on the season, the second-best record in the league. The offensive line also allowed just one sack.
Hamilton 26, Ottawa 22
Former Husker Brett Maher had his second straight down game for the Redblacks, going 2-for-4 on field goals with misses coming from 25 and 44, and makes from 38 and 43. He also punted seven times for a 50.4 average, including a long of 57.
His Ottawa teammate, former Husker Jonathan Rose, had three tackles in the Redblacks secondary.
Calgary 25, Edmonton 22
Former Husker Ciante Evans continued to be one of the steadying forces of the Stampeders secondary, registering four tackles for the league-leaders. Evans now has 35 tackles in 11 games for Calgary.