CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Andrew Harris made Grey Cup history to help end his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ title drought.
Harris became the first player to be honored as both the Grey Cup MVP and top Canadian, running for 134 yards and a touchdown and catching a scoring pass in the Blue Bombers’ 33-12 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday night.
The Blue Bombers won their 10th title and first since 1990, becoming the first third-place team to reach and win the Canadian Football League championship since Edmonton in 2005.
Harris, the 32-year-old Winnipeg native who also won a title with the B.C. Lions in 2011, is the first Canadian to be selected Grey Cup MVP since Russ Jackson of the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1969.
“That sounds good, but the only trophy I want is the big silver one,” Harris said. “It’s surreal, it’s amazing, it’s a dream come true. I’m so proud to be a Winnipegger.”
With the temperature in the mid-30s with little wind, Harris opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 15-yard run and caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from backup Chris Streveler in the second quarter. Harris finished with six catches for 35 yards.
Harris served a two-game suspension for a positive drug test this season, but still led the CFL in rushing for the third straight season.
“I just wanted to prove it to my teammates and deliver for my teammates,” Harris said. “Everything else is whatever. We just wanted to win this game. We’ve been underdogs (and) counted out all year and even for myself I’ve been counted out and disrespected. It was a Blue Bomber-style game and that’s how we wanted to do it.”
Zach Collaros, the former University of Cincinnati quarterback who spent time with Saskatchewan and Toronto this season before landing in Winnipeg in October, completed 17 of 23 passes for 170 yards. Streveler was 3 for 3 for 39 yards.
Justin Medlock tied the Grey Cup record with six field goals and salvaged a single on his lone miss.
Defensive end Willie Jefferson had three of Winnipeg’s six sacks and forced two fumbles.
“To be playing such a big game, the biggest game of the year and to play their best football, is very impressive,” Winnipeg coach Mike O’Shea said. “They certainly rose to the occasion and got after it. They should be extremely proud of that fact.”
Dane Evans threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Bralon Addison in the third quarter for Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats, a CFL-best 15-3 in the regular season, won their last championship in 1999.
“It hurts real bad. I’m not going to lie,” Evans said. “It just sucks, man. Honestly, it is just terrible. Not the way we would have pictured it. Not the way that we wanted it and it’s all because of us. We had a great game plan but we just didn’t execute.”
Hamilton lost Brandon Banks, the speedy receiver honored this week at the league’s Most Outstanding Player, to a leg injury in the third quarter.
Winnipeg was third in the West at 11-7 in the regular season.