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Collaros, Nichols see pre-season action as Bombers beat Riders

REGINA — Zach Collaros threw two touchdown passes, but it was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that rallied in the fourth quarter to upend the Saskatchewan Roughriders 35-29 Thursday in the final pre-season game for both teams.

Collaros played the entire first half for the Riders and completed 10-of-15 pass attempts for 163 yards. He connected with Naaman Roosevelt on a 22-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, a score that gave the Riders an 8-1 lead.

Collaros ended his night with an eight-yard touchdown strike to Shaq Evans.

The teams were tied 14-14 at halftime.

Collaros’ counterpart Matt Nichols had a solid performance as well in two quarters of action. He tossed one touchdown — an 86-yard pass-and-run to Lucky Whitehead — and completed 7-of-14 pass attempts for 163 yards.

Roosevelt caught four passes for 67 yards to lead the Riders. Saskatchewan William Powell had 55 yards rushing on seven carries.

Whitehead produced 106 yards on two receptions. Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris carried the ball seven times for 23 yards.

Backup quarterback Cody Fajardo scored for Saskatchewan on a one-yard run. Rookie quarterback Isaac Harker threw a three-yard touchdown to fellow freshman Paul McRoberts in the fourth quarter. McRoberts hauled in four passes for 87 yards.

Bombers pivot Bryan Bennett hooked up with Kenny Walker on a pretty 86-yard pass-and-run for a touchdown, also in the fourth quarter. And Sean McGuire scored on a QB sneak with 2:15 to play to put Winnipeg ahead for good.

Gabriel Amavizca Ortiz booted three field goals for Winnipeg.

Collaros did not dress for the Riders in their first exhibition contest, a 37-1 loss in Calgary.

He missed four games due to injury in 2018 and missed nine games in 2017 when with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Nichols also saw his first action Thursday night. Winnipeg knocked off Edmonton 20-3 a week ago. Both he and Collaros are expected to start for their respective teams when the regular season starts next week.

The Riders will open the regular season June 13 at Hamilton. Winnipeg will take on the host B.C. Lions on June 15.