Robert Marve passed for a touchdown and ran for another as the Bombers opened the pre-season with a 34-27 win over the Toronto Argonauts at Varsity Stadium.
Drew Willy got the call for the Blue Bombers, looking to make the most of the few reps he was going to see as the cemented starter for Week 1. Willy quickly shook off the rust on his first pass of the game when he stood tall in the pocket, absorbed a hit and delivered a strike to Ja-mes Logan for a gain of 30 yards. The drive was quickly stalled two plays later however when running back Paris Cotton put the ball on the turf giving the Argos the ball.
The Boatmen couldn’t capitalize on that possession but hit the mark two drives later.
Trevor Harris, who was making the start for Toronto, led an impressive march, connecting with receivers Kevin Elliott and Vidal Hazelton for big gains before handing off to tailback Curtis Steele for a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Argos a 6-0 first quarter lead. Toronto missed the 32-yard convert.
His counterpart, Willy only lasted two drives before hitting the pine and finished 3-for-3 for 29 yards.Harris is all but penciled in as Toronto’s opening day starter with Ricky Ray on the mend from off-season shoulder surgery so reps were valuable to say the least.
Brian Brohm entered the game with just under three minutes remaining in the opening frame and quickly went to work with great field position after Steele turned the ball over on a fumble. The Bombers salvaged a 20-yard field goal off the foot of Anthony Santella.
Brohm was also done after two drives, finishing 6 of 8 for 52 yards, as Robert Marve finished up the first half for the Bombers.
Harris’ work was done after the first quarter and the Bombers didn’t make QB Logan Kilgore feel very comfortable, picking off his first pass which led to another field goal to tie the game at 6.
Kilgore was intercepted once again two possessions later and this time, the Bombers made him pay. Working with a short field, Marve leaned on tailback Carlos Anderson to help march the Bombers into the redzone and then got the ball into the hands of Lavasier Tuinei who broke a tackle at the one and fell into the endzone.
That, along with a rouge off a missed field goal on the next play sent the Bombers to the locker room with a 13-6 halftime lead.
Marve continued to move the ball well in between the 20s as the third quarter got underway and with 7:08 left, opened up a 13-point lead when he escaped a collapsing pocket, pulled the ball down and raced down the teeth of the Toronto defence for a 21-yard touchdown.
Mitchell Gale entered the game for the Argonauts under centre and after a pair of stalled drives, helped put the Boatmen back on the board. First, he aired the ball out for receiver Tori Gurley on a go route and the South Carolina product stretched out to bring in the 46-yard reception.
A pass interference call in the endzone put the ball at the 1-yard line and Gale punched it in from there to cut the Bombers lead to 20-14 with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Northern Iowa grad Carlos Anderson sparked the Blue Bombers with a 93-yard punt return touchdown Tuesday in a 34-27 pre-season win in Toronto.
Gurley, who was the primary receiver on the drive, was the Argos' best contributor on offence leading all pass-catchers with 7 receptions for 188 yards and a major.
The lead was short lived however, as they went two-and-out on their next drive and were forced to punt. Anderson fielded the punt deep in his own end split a set of would be tacklers and out-ran the entire Argos cover-team for a 93-yard punt return major to get the Winnipeg lead back up to 13 points.
The Blue Bombers put the game out of reach with just under 8 minutes left when Marve completed a pair of short receptions and then handed the ball off to RB Cameron Marshall who raced 16 yards before taking a handoff 1-yard for a touchdown to increase the Bomber advantage to 34-14.
Gale pulled the Argos a bit closer on the ensuing drive, answering with a 36-yard pass to Kevin Bradfield before sneaking the ball in from the 1-yard line to cut the lead to 34-20.
Gale made the game interesting when he heaved another ball up for Gurley who out-raced the Bombers secondary for a 60-yard touchdown with just over two minuts remaining. But despite getting the ball back, he conceded a sack with 1:08 left on third-and-10 to end the comeback effort.
Toronto closes out the pre-season schedule next week in Montreal, while the Bombers use their last time to fine-tune at home against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.