VANVOUVER – Shawn Gore hauled in one of three Travis Lulay passes as the BC Lions held off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 29-26 Friday night in Vancouver.
Lulay had his best outing of the year, passing for 359 yards on 26 of 36 with 3 touchdowns. He also ran one in himself.
Lulay and running back Andrew Harris went to the defence of their offence this past week which has been receiving plenty of criticism from media and fans alike for not performing up to expectations.
|Related: Tiger-Cats at Lions|
» View Game Stats
» Images: HAM at BC
» Video: Arceneaux's 80-Yard Touchdown
» Video: Gore Opens Scoring For Lions
» Video: Grant Sneaks in for 14 Yard Major
» Video: Lulay Jukes and Finds End Zone
» Preview: Ticats head west to battle Lions
They backed up their words early, as Lulay led an 8-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on their second possession of the game. The veteran pivot found Gore three times for 18, 12 and 5 yards with the latter counting as Gore’s sixth major of the season.
The Ticats entered Friday playing their best football of the season. Winners of three straight, the ‘Cats were not only on a winning streak but possibly could see a door open up in the East Division with major injuries in both Toronto and Montreal.
A stealth Lions defence held Hamilton in check in the first quarter but Henry Burris and the Ticats offence awoke early in the second quarter. Burris went a perfect 5-for-5 on their first touchdown drive before finding WR Bakari Grant for a 14-yard score. Grant, who is having a career year, set the Tabbies up in BC territory after grabbing a 33-yard pass on a throw-behind.
Lulay and the Lions answered right back however.
In the first quarter, Lulay tried attacking the Hamilton secondary and found WR Emmanuel Arceneaux clear down the sideline only to see the receiver drop what would have been the biggest gain of the game.
They made no mistake countering Hamilton’s first score as the two connected down the far sideline for an 80-yard catch-and-run major which saw him beat the corner before out-running LB Courtney Greene towards the pilon.
The Leos would concede a safety before heading into the locker room with a 14-9 halftime lead.
It wasn’t all good news for the home squad though as arguably their best defensive player thus far in 2013, Solomon Elimimian, left the game with a suspected hamstring injury.
Offensively, BC continued to roll as the second half began.
On their first possession of the new frame, Lulay found WR Marco Iannuzzi down the sideline for a 56-yard gain. The two would hook up four plays later on third-and-goal for a 2-yard score and a 21-9 Lions lead.
|Lulay leads Lions attack|
Travis Lulay had his best outing of the year, passing for 359 yards on 26 of 36 with 3 touchdowns. He also ran one in himself.
» View More Game Stats
Like they did in the second quarter, Hamilton had an answer shortly thereafter.
Burris spotted Onrea Jones who found a soft spot in the BC defence and then escaped for 34 yards before Dan LeFevour fell forward from one yard out to cut the lead to 21-16.
Lulay went back to work, engineering a 12-play drive but after the Ticats defence held, Paul McCallum attempted a 45-yard field goal which sailed wide left, earning just a single point.
After the Ticats added a 44-yard field goal, Lulay and the Lions then expanded their lead with just over five minutes remaining.
Off the strength of a 33-yard Tim Brown kickoff return, Lulay found Gore for 15 yards before juking and jiving around Hamilton DE Brandon Boudreaux on a play-action to scamper 2 yards to pay dirt and taking a 29-19 lead.
Burris looked to answer but on a swing pass in BC territory, floated a ball which landed in the hands of veteran Lions cornerback Dante Marsh who returned it down the sideline for the first turnover of the game by either team with just over three minutes remaining.
The ‘Cats would get the ball back two plays later however, when Thomas DeMarco dropped the pigskin in short yardage at the Hamilton 25 yard line giving the Ticats the ball with two-and-a-half left on the game clock.
Hamilton would capitalize as Burris led a 12-play, 91-yard drive capped off by a 2-yard touchdown pass to rookie Greg Ellingson whose fifth major of the year put the Ticats to within three points with 24 seconds left.
The Tabbies then attempted an onside kick but veteran SB Paris Jackson hauled in the boot to confirm the 29-26 Leos win.
The two teams play one another next week to complete the home-and-home in Guelph.
Burris finished 28 of 35 for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 1 interception.
Meanwhile, the Lions defence got to Burris six times throughout the night.