With files from the Canadian Press
MONTREAL -- The BC Lions will try to keep their defence rolling on Friday night, as they look to stop the league's hottest quarterbacks in Anthony Calvillo at Percival Molson Stadium.
The Lions know it'll be quite a challenge, as Calvillo continues his stellar play heading into Labour Day Weekend, after efforts that saw the Alouettes quarterback named the CFL's Offensive Player of the Month for August. The 40-year-old completed 64 of 97 passes this month for 1,024 yards, threw for seven touchdowns and was intercepted just twice.
"Coming out of the bye week, Anthony looked scary in that game against Edmonton, and the same thing last week against Hamilton," said Lions coach Mike Benevides. "When you take a look at it, you can't shut them out. You try to minimize the long play and really try to give yourself a chance to win the game at the end. Looking at the size and explosion of their receivers, you just try to minimize what they do."
"They have very good players and they have a very good structure and scheme. That's a tough act to crack and not many have been able to do it up until now. We're going to give it our best shot."
It's a turnaround from the first half of last season, when BC stumbled to an 0-5 start. This year, the Lions won their first two games, then dropped their next two.
Since then, they've reeled off four straight, during which they've allowed just one touchdown. "A big part of it is just a belief system that we can win football games. There's always going to be good and bad in a football game but when you've learned how to win a lot of those games, you know how to overcome the bad that comes up," Lions quarterback Travis Lulay said.
While BC has been dominant on defence, it has been less so on offence. After scoring more than 30 points in their first two games of the season, the Lions have reached the mark just once since. They sit fourth in the CFL with 202 points and sixth in team passing.
They know it won't be easy against an improving Alouettes defence.
"You've really started to see their defence play fast and hard, and play good defensive football the last few weeks. We know we'll
have our work cut out for us," Lulay said. "At the same time, we're coming on four wins."
"It's always tough coming here to play these guys and to play a team that's playing good football. It's always a challenge to withstand that initial surge of energy and emotion when you're on the road but you've got to do that and settle into the game."
Despite the Lions' tamer statistics on the pass, they have been better on the ground, aided by Lulay's ability to call his own number. The 28-year-old sits ninth in the CFL with 302 rushing yards on 43 carries.
"Any time you have a quarterback who can run and extend plays, it hurts you at times so we just have to contain him and just stay focused and really be aware of where he is at all times," said Alouettes defensive back Jerald Brown.
After a rough start to the season during which they dropped three of their first five games, the Alouettes are undefeated in August, riding a three-game winning streak. That run has helped them rise to the top of the East Division and second in the CFL overall.