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Buffalo Bulls in the CFL

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Derek Leung

Two Buffalo Bulls who were part of the 2008 conference championship team had game winning plays last week proving once more that the 08 edition of UB football had some very special players. Guys who seem to be at their best when the game was on the line.


Willy-td
Winnipeg vs Saskatchewan

For the third time this season Drew Willy's final touch of the game resulted in the winning Winnipeg points. The hastag "Willipeg" was one of Canada's top trending tweets following a high floating pass which found it's mark as time expired.

To those watching the ball seemed to hang in the air forvever. Just imagine what it felt like for Drew and his target, Nic Grigsby.

After blowing a 17 point lead Willy and the Blue Bombers won a 27-26 decision over Hamilton. Now they will take on the defending Champions, Saskatchewan.

Last season the Roughriders had Drew playing a backup role to Darian Durant. While drew did get a start and some reasonable reps for a backup the team always belonged to Durant, and eventually Darian took his squad to a Grey Cup win.

With Drew Willy's contract nearly over, and rumors that some teams were looking at him as a future QB the Roughriders dealt him to Winnipeg. He was quickly named the starting pivot on a Blue Bomber team that was about a decade removed from a consistent quarterback. The rest is recent history.

Drew Willy Among CFL Quarterbacks
Name Team Comp Att % Yards Long TD Ints Rating
Ray, R TOR 147 216 68.1 1,687 49 8 4 96
Willy, D WPG 127 194 65.5 1,662 51 7 4 95.8
Glenn, K BC 110 174 63.2 1,390 65 7 9 79.9
Reilly, M EDM 110 173 63.6 1,142 42 9 4 90.3

People will try to play up the "Drew versus his old team" story line but in point of fact things played out as cleanly as possible. Darian Durant was not going to lose his job and Drew wanted to go somewhere that was serious about giving him a shot. That meant either Ottawa in the expansion draft or Winnipeg via a trade.

Rather than revenge the Bombers will be looking to find motivation in their position, atop the West but with Edmonton and Calgary nipping at their heels. Right now Winnipeg holds the poll position in the CFL with 10 points, a half game up on Edmonton and Calgary who each have eight.

For the past half decade the threshold for the CFL playoffs has been 14 or 16 points (7 or 8 wins). If Drew and the Bombers beat his old club the Bombers will be just a hand full of point away from a likely playoff birth with more than half the season left.

BC vs Hamilton

Ej-td
The other hero last week was Ernest Jackson.

Not only did Jackson's late heroics hand BC a win over the CFL's last undefeated team, it handed Drew Willy and the Bombers that razor thin lead over the Eskimos and Stampeeders.

For Jackson the 65 yard strike was also a bit of penance for dropping a two point conversion earlier in the game. The attempt would have tied the game at 21 late in the 4th quarter, instead BC remained down by two, and then five after a Calgary field goal.

Many players would spend most of the remaining game time beating themselves up over the costly mistake. Jackson knuckled down and make up for it. EJ, like Drew, always seemed to find a little focus, and a lot of magic in the last moments of the game.

Ernest Jackson among CFL receivers
Name Team No. Yards Avg Long TD
1 Bowman, A EDM 28 359 12.8 41 4
2 Harris, A BC 23 341 14.8 55 3
3 Owens, C TOR 28 339 12.1 49 1
4 Moore, N WPG 22 320 14.5 51 0
5 Denmark, C WPG 21 308 14.7 50 1
6 Taylor, C BC 31 305 9.8 27 2
7 Henry, M OTT 21 299 14.2 39 1
8 Arceneaux, E BC 20 288 14.4 35 3
9 Kelly, A WPG 16 273 17.1 47 2
10 Jackson, E BC 18 248 13.8 65 1

Going into the Calgary his numbers seemed on the modest side for an import receiver. In the CFL you are limited to the number of non Canadians you can have on the roster, and the depth chart. Receivers are generally a spot where a Canadian team can place one or two native players.

Talk among fans on Lionbackers.com was that fans loved Jackson and his potential but were wondering if he would ever come through. Well EJ came through in spades last week and there is little doubt now that BC would do well to keep him around.

This week BC hosts Hamilton and the Lions find them selves dead last in the CFL west, yet they still have a better record than East leading Toronto. Jackson was on the 2008 UB team which lost a heart breaker to Dan Lefevour and the Chips. Last week Drew Willy took a measure of revenge for that game, this week it may be EJ's Turn.

Thursday, August 7

Friday, August 8
Home Road

Winnipeg

Sask.

D. Willy
Time 8:30 PM
WPG Forum M Big Blue
TV ESPN3/TSN
Home Road

BC

Hamilton

E. Jackson
Time 10:00 PM
BC Forum Lion Backers
TV ESPN3/TSN