CALGARY — Travis Lulay threw a pair of touchdown passes to Andrew Harris, and another to Akeem Foster, as the Lions rolled to a 34-8 victory over the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium.
Saturday night’s game marked the chance for both teams to begin generating some momentum as they enter the thick of the season.
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The win ended a short two-game losing streak for the Lions, and certainly handed them some added confidence ahead of their next matchup with the Toronto Argonauts.
The Stampeders, meanwhile, lost some valuable momentum that they could have carried into the bye week. They will play next on Aug. 9 in an inter-divisional matchup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Calgary’s defence was on their game in the early going, forcing the Lions to two consecutive punting situations.
On the second punt attempt, with the ball on BC’s own 16-yard line, kicker Paul McCallum opted to kneel in the endzone and concede a safety, giving the Stampeders an early 2-0 lead.
However, the Lions defence would not be outdone.
Linebacker Adam Bighill intercepted a Kevin Glenn pass intended for Nik Lewis, who was two plays removed from an impressive 28-yard reception.
The Lions were able to capitalize off the turnover on their ensuing possession, with McCallum capping off an eight-play, 37-yard drive with a 39-yard field goal.
The connection was an important one for McCallum, who struggled two weeks ago in a losing effort to the Roughriders. Last week, McCallum did not attempt a field goal.
It was a low scoring affair in the first 30 minutes, with both defences holding their own against two usually potent offences.
Canadians Akeem Foster and Andrew Harris combined for 165 net yards and three touchdowns in a winning effort.
With the first half inching closer to its end, both kickers exchanged field goals.
Rene Paredes connected on a 42-yard attempt to temporarily give the Stamps a 5-3 lead. However, McCallum would respond on BC’s next possession, splitting the uprights from 45 yards out to give the Lions a 6-5 lead.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, the Lions offence would finally break through.
Lulay orchestrated a seven-play, 53-yard drive that was capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass to receiver Akeem Foster.
The touchdown was Foster’s first of the season, and first since Week 12 of last year.
The second half began much like the first, with both defences keeping the offensive units at bay.
Paredes managed to cut into the Lions’ lead with a 35-yard field goal.
However, the Lions offence would finally begin to show signs of life.
The 2012 season has seen little from Lions such as Arland Bruce III and other offensive threats.
However, Bruce seemingly began to generate some traction, hauling in two passes for a combined 45 yards on the same drive, ultimately setting up a 28-yard field goal by McCallum to extend BC’s lead to 16-8.
After the Stampeders offence was once again unable to get anything going downfield, Lulay and the Lions attack continued to slowly pull away on the scoreboard.
With less than two minutes to go in the third quarter, Lulay led the Leos on a 10-play, 39-yard attack that ended with a five-yard toss to tailback Andrew Harris in the endzone.
Harris’ big night would continue on the Lions’ very next offensive possession. The Manitoba native hauled in another pass in the endzone, this time from 19 yards out, extending BC’s lead to 22 points.
McCallum would put his final stamp on the win, connecting on a short eight-yard field goal, giving the Lions a 34-8 win.
Harris would finish his night with a combined 89 yards and two touchdowns. Lulay, meanwhile, completed 80 per cent of his passes for 305 yards and a trio of scores.
The Stampeders had their difficulties on offence, highlighted by a less-than-stellar performance by tailback Jon Cornish, who ran six times for minus-one yards.