Each week a Bombers player visits with Ed Tait of bluebombers.com to reminisce about a particular game, or games, that is most memorable for them in their careers in high school, college or professional careers.
Zach Collaros background:
- Started 25 games at the University of Cincinnati and was the 2010 First-Team All-Big East quarterback. Was undrafted in the NFL and tried out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the Toronto Argonauts in 2012. Dressed for four games in ’12 and all 18 in ’13, including eight starts.
- Signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2014 and was the club’s Most Outstanding Player in ’14 and ’15, leading the Ticats to a berth in the ’14 Grey Cup. Traded from Hamilton to Saskatchewan in 2018, he went 10-4 as a starter that year but was injured in the West Semi-Final loss to the Bombers.
- Opened 2019 as the Roughriders starter, but was injured in the opener. Traded to Toronto on July 31st, then to Winnipeg at the deadline in October. The deal brought Collaros and a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft for a third-round pick in 2020 and a conditional first-round pick in 2020. That condition was met when the Bombers re-signed Collaros in the offseason.
- Collaros went 4-0 in his four starts for the Bombers – a regular-season finale victory over the Calgary Stampeders before a West Semi-Final win over the Stamps, then a decision over the Riders in the West Final and the Tiger-Cats in the 107thGrey Cup.
“When you’re in college you have six or seven quarterbacks on the roster. I had a very late offer going into Cincinnati and I had just two football offers. So, in my mind I was a huge underdog to even ever play there.
“In my third year, my redshirt sophomore year, I got the opportunity to take over for the quarterback who got hurt (Tony Pike). There was a game against the University of Connecticut and we scored a lot of points and I had a lot of yards (480 passing with one TD, 75 rushing and two TDs). We were ranked #5 in the country at the time and Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger were doing the game. I had a lot of really good high-level guys around me, so I was thinking going into the game ‘Let me get the ball into these guys’ hands and they’ll do the rest.’ Brian Kelly called a great game and we ended up winning 47-45.
“I had come in two weeks prior and then in the next week and we won. But that game solidified moving forward that that was going to be my team for the remainder of my college career. That’s why it sticks out, along with how well we were doing that year and playing with guys I grew up with. You grow up in college, right? And so getting a win in a marquee game on ABC was a pretty big moment for my career.
“I believe I’m not wrong in this, but that was also the game Scott Milanovich and Jim Barker (then the Toronto Argonauts head coach and GM) said that led to them putting me on their negotiation list. That was funny because, to be honest with you, I had never seen a CFL game in my entire life. When I had graduated I got cut from Tampa and was getting ready to do a graduate assistant-ship at Cincinnati for Butch Jones (then the Bearcats head coach) and my agent called me and said, ‘Hey, you’re on a negotiation list up in Canada. Do you want to go up there?’ That’s how that all happened and how it started in the CFL for me.”
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