- Free Agency
VANCOUVER — Travis Lulay threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while Andrew Harris had 125 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown as the Lions held off a late Calgary surge to win 27-22 on Saturday night at BC Place.
Ryan Phillips had a late interception, and on the final drive of the game broke up a pass from backup Bo Levi Mitchell to secure the win for the Lions, keeping BC atop the CFL standings through Week 15.
Nick Moore filled in admirably as a key receiver for the Lions, with a game-high 83 yards and a touchdown on five catches, while Toronto native Shawn Gore also grabbed a first-half touchdown pass.
The Stamps were quick off the gun in the first quarter, as Kevin Glenn hit Marquay McDaniel on the game’s opening play for a 33 catch and run, setting the Stamps up in enemy territory on the very first drive. The drive would stall inside the 10 though, forcing a chip shot form Rene Paredes to open the scoring.
With just one point in the first quarter over their last three games, the Lions hoped to get off to a quicker start themselves in this one as Lulay opened the drive with two straight first downs on completions to Kierrie Johnson.
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After a long pass to Moore, Lulay rolled out to his right and hit Gore for a seven-yard touchdown pass on second and short to give BC a 7-3 lead, marking their first opening-drive touchdown in 13 games.
A failed onside kick by Paul McCallum on the ensuing kickoff gave the Stamps great field position to start their next drive, but after four straight runs by Cornish, Paredes booted his second kick of the night to cut the deficit to 7-6.
The next time the Lions would get the ball back they’d start out pinned at their own 16-yard-line, but that wasn’t about to slow them down.
After a 29-yard run for Harris, the non-import runner followed that up with a 29-yard reception, moving the Lions within striking distance. With a first down at the 20, Lulay struck for the second time of the half, dropping back deep and finding Moore in the back of the end zone to make it 14-6.
McCallum would round out the first-half scoring on a short field goal, after the Lions failed to punch it in one-yard-line following a pass interference penalty.
After being stumped offensive through most of the second half, the Stamps got some help from their defence to start the second half. On a Harris second-down run, the running back had the ball stripped from his hands, leading to a 48-yard touchdown return from Brandon Smith to suddenly cut the deficit to 17-13.
That held up until later in the third quarter, when the Lions took control with favourable field position near the Calgary 50-yard-line.
From there, Lulay moved the offence quickly and efficiently into scoring position, completing four straight passes to move the lions down to the five. But the Stamps defence tightened up from there, forcing two incompletions and McCallum’s second field goal of the night to make it 20-13.
A quick two-and-out ensued for the Stamps, giving Lulay the ball right back once again in great field position to end the third quarter. Leaning on Harris through the air, the quarterback quickly moved the ball down the field.
A pass interference penalty at the goal line would give the Lions another chance from the one, and this time Harris sliced through the defensive line for his first touchdown of the game and eighth of the season, opening up a two-touchdown lead.
But the Stamps weren’t about to give this one up. After a Paredes field goal cut the deficit to 11 points, Glenn quickly got the ball back and marched downfield in a hurry, finishing a speedy scoring drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Romby Bryant.
They’d fail on the two-point conversion, but with seven minutes remaining trailed by just five points.
Andrew Harris had a big day at the office, grinding out 73 rushing yards on 14 carries along with an additional 52 yards through the air. He got the best of fellow non-import back Jon Cornish in this one, finishing with 125 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
The defence would give up some yards on the following drive, but eventually forced a punt, getting the ball back at the Calgary 20-yard-line. Glenn quickly connected with Bryant for a first down, but on the very next play, disaster would strike.
The veteran pivot evaded pressure and looked to beat coverage with a deep ball, but Phillips came up with the interception and returned it past midfield to give the Lions the ball back with just a couple of minutes remaining in the game.
Calgary’s defence would stand tall again, forcing a McCallum punt with a minute to go and starting at their own seven-yard-line, needing to go 103 yards for a touchdown in order to win the game.
Glenn found Bryant and Lewis for first downs on the first two passes, moving the Stamps to midfield with 52 seconds left. But after an incompletion, defensive end Khreem Smith brought the pressure and burried Glenn for the sack.
Glenn was injured on the play, forcing Mitchell into the game on third-and-18.
Mitchell’s pass was close, but fell incomlete in a crowd of Lions defenders, clinching the game for the Lions.
Glenn finished the game with 18-33 for 242 yards and a touchdown after a shaky first half, while Cornish had 93 yards from scrimmage on just 12 touches.
With the win, the Lions took a two-game lead over the Stamps for top spot in the West, becoming the first team to win 10 games this season.
Next Week for Calgary: The Stamps invade Canad Inns Stadium for a date with Chris Matthews and the Bombers. BUY TICKETS.
Next Week for BC: The Lions head east for a duel with Henry Burris and the Ticats on Friday Night Football. BUY TICKETS.