CFL Pass

Zach Collaros steps up in Saskatchewan Roughriders' 35-29 pre-season loss to Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Zach Collaros accomplished what he needed to do in his 30 minutes of pre-season action in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 35-29 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday.

The veteran Riders quarterback shrugged off an early interception to complete 10 of 15 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Collaros moved the ball efficiently and even stretched out the passing game, which was a contrast to the Riders’ conservative offence of 2018.

Collaros completed touchdown passes to Naaman Roosevelt (22 yards) and Shaq Evans (eight yards).

The 30-year-old quarterback hit Roosevelt in stride for the first touchdown and then found Evans deep in the end zone.

It was the first CFL touchdown for Evans, who led the Riders with 785 receiving yards last year but still didn’t register a major.

Collaros wasn’t the only veteran with a strong first half. William Powell had seven carries for 55 yards before being shut down for the remainder of the game

Jon Ryan averaged 49.3 yards on three punts, including a 54-yard single that drew an ovation from the announced crowd of 28,706. Thursday’s game was the Mosaic Stadium debut with the Riders for the Regina-born Ryan, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL.

Isaac Harker took over for Collaros in the second half and was impressive.

The rookie quarterback completed five of nine passes for 78 yards, including a three-yard touchdown pass to Paul McRoberts. One play earlier, Harker had connected on a 55-yard bomb to McRoberts.

McRoberts led all receivers with four receptions for 87 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Roosevelt had four receptions for 67 yards.

The Riders were 0-2 in the preseason after losing 37-1 to the host Calgary Stampeders on May 31.

Saskatchewan is to begin its regular season June 13 in Hamilton against the Tiger-Cats.

All CFL teams are required to make their final cuts by Saturday night.