Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Roughriders QB Zach Collaros Loves Labour Day Weekend Games

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Roughriders QB Zach Collaros Loves Labour Day Weekend Games

Article excerpt

Collaros knows all about Labour Day games


REGINA - Zach Collaros is looking to remain perfect on Labour Day weekend.

The first-year Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback carries a 3-0 CFL record as a starter on the September long weekend into Sunday's key home game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-5).

Statistics also are on Collaros' side in another respect. Saskatchewan, which has a winning record (5-4) despite having scored a league-low 11 offensive touchdowns, is 3-1 in games that he has started and finished -- a stat that does not surprise Roughriders general manager/coach Chris Jones.

"He has won a lot of football games at the high school level and the college level," said Jones, who acquired Collaros from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in January. "We brought him here for a reason.

"He's a leader. He's a good player. He's certainly not perfect -- none of us are -- but I'll tell you what he is. He's a worker. He's in here every morning. He's got the receivers in there, meeting extra, and he's meeting with the other quarterbacks. He melds with our offence extremely well, and we like what he brings to the table."

Collaros started the Roughriders' season opener -- a 27-19 victory over the visiting Toronto Argonauts on June 15 -- before suffering a concussion and a neck injury in the second quarter of a June 21 road game versus the Ottawa Redblacks. Ottawa won, 40-17.

He then missed four full games, during which Brandon Bridge was 2-2 as the starter, before returning Aug. 2 in Edmonton against the Eskimos. Although the Roughriders lost 26-19 to Edmonton, Collaros enlivened the offence by throwing for 261 yards (four more than the Eskimos' star pivot, Mike Reilly).

The Roughriders proceeded to win Collaros' next two starts, knocking off the previously unbeaten Calgary Stampeders 40-27 on Aug. 19 before downing the B.C. Lions 24-21 in Vancouver six days later.

"He was our starter for a reason coming out of camp," Jones said. "Having him back has been very big for our football team."

Next up is a very big game against Winnipeg, which has lost two in a row.

Also of note is the traditional Labour Day weekend matchup with Winnipeg -- the 54th such game -- and the accompanying hoopla involving Roughriders and Bombers fans.

"The fans appreciate that day and that game and the importance of it," said Collaros, who spent his first two seasons in the CFL with Toronto before spending four years with Hamilton. …

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