THE CANADIAN PRESS
HAMILTON -- Travis Lulay proved that in the CFL the best defence is a good offence.
Lulay threw two TD passes and Andrew Harris scored two TDs as the B.C. Lions' offence held the ball for nearly 40 minutes to anchor an emphatic 37-17 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
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Lulay, the CFL's outstanding player last season, hit Harris on an eight-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the first quarter and extend his streak to 26 straight games with a TD toss. That gave Lulay the second-longest streak in CFL history behind Sam Etcheverry's league record of 34 consecutive contests.
But more importantly, the dominance of the Lions' offence kept Hamilton's high-powered unit - which came in averaging a league-best 30 points per game - on the sidelines.
"The best thing you can do for your defence is keep that offence off the field,'' Lulay said after completing 27-of-34 passing for 343 yards before giving way to Mike Reilly late in the fourth quarter. "That's a big part of why we were able to win the football game, we were able to do it for all 60 minutes.
"We talked about starting the game fast and were able to do that and maintain that momentum.''
Lions head coach Mike Benevides also said that Lulay, who received the game ball, played just a day after the death of his grandmother while his grandfather was undergoing surgery. What's more, Lulay's wife, Kim, is expecting.
"There's obviously a lot of different emotions going on,'' said Benevides, who added only he and backup Mike Reilly knew of the passing of Lulay's grandmother. "Just to see how he performed today, he's an outstanding person of character, an outstanding leader . . . because tonight he was in total control and did an outstanding job.''
Lulay's performance quieted the Ivor Wynne Stadium gathering of 26,842 watching the second-last CFL game at the 84-year-old facility that will be demolished at season's end. The CFL club will move into a new stadium in 2014 and the following year the new building will stage the 2015 Pan Am Games soccer competition.
It was also a night to remember for Harris. The Winnipeg native recorded 121 total yards (68 yards rushing, 53 yards receiving) to give him 1,665 yards from scrimmage this season, the most ever by a Canadian, eclipsing the mark of 1,662 yards set by Calgary's Terry Evanshen in 1967.
"I just found out about it and it hasn't sunk in but obviously a record that was 45 years old is truly amazing,'' Harris said. "I'm humbled by it and for me now I just want to keep getting better and better and increase that yardage mark over the next few games.''
B.C. moved closer to cementing a home playoff game despite being minus five stalwarts - receivers Simon and Arland Bruce III, offensive lineman Jon Hameister-Ries and defensive linemen Khalif Mitchell and Eric Taylor. The Lions will clinch a home playoff date if Winnipeg beats Calgary on Saturday.
Hamilton, meanwhile, will have to continue plugging away if they hope to make the post-season.
Ticats head coach George Cortez shouldered the blame for his club's loss.
"I would have to say, as I told the players, I did not do a good enough job preparing them because we made too many mistakes on things we thought we had emphasized during the week,'' he said. "I also made a promise to them it would not happen again.
"I expected us to play much better and if we didn't we must not have prepared them well enough.''
But Ticats' starter Henry Burris, who finished 22-of-31 passing for 228 yards and a TD, came to his coach's defence.
"I never can put it on the coaches because as players we play the game,'' Burris said. "In the situation we are in, with trying to get into the playoffs, I expected more emotion, more energy from us in the locker room.
"B.C. did everything it could do to get the victory and it just seemed like we were out there helping them get the victory. We played bad football, undisciplined football and we did not make plays on offence. That is what beat us.''
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|