HAMILTON -- Travis Lulay had two touchdown passes, while running back Andrew Harris registered two majors of his own, as the BC Lions' offence came alive, en-route to a 37-17 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
Lulay had a stellar night under centre, completing 27 of his 34 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. His offensive line was also on its game, allowing just one sack the entire night.
Harris, meanwhile, made CFL history, setting a new single-season record for most yards from scrimmage by a Canadian.
Tonightâs matchup was a classic case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, as the leagueâs top offence, the Ticats, and defence, the Lions, collidedÂ for the first time since Week 2.
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Having already secured themselves a spot in the post-season last week, thanks to their 27-22 win over the Calgary Stampeders, the Lions now need the same Stampeders to lose their Saturday afternoon matchup to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in order to secure a home playoff game.
Following the opening kickoff by Hamiltonâs Luca Congi, BCâs offence took to the field for the first time in the game, hoping to get off to a fast start.
Heading into tonightâs matchup, Lions pivot Travis Lulay had thrown at least one touchdown pass in 25-straight games.
And it wouldnât take long for the reigning Most Outstanding Player to make it 26, as Lulay found Harris for an eight-yard score to give the Lions a 7-0 lead early in the opening quarter.
Lulay was perfect in his first possession, connecting on all five of his pass attempts to lead the Lions 83 yards downfield on 13 plays, taking 6:52 off the clock in the process.
But the high-octane Tiger-Cats offence would not be outdone.
Running back Avon Cobourne, who entered Week 16 averaging 94 yards per game, powered off three consecutive runs for a combined gain of 28 yards.
One play later, the âCats appeared to have equaled the score, with quarterback Henry Burris finding receiver Andy Fantuz in the endzone for a touchdown.
However, Fantuz was flagged for being offside, negating the touchdown and bringing the Tabbies five yards further from the endzone as well.
On the ensuing play, the Lions defence made sure that Burris wouldnât have another shot at the endzone,Â as Keron Williams brought the pivot down for an 11-yard loss.
The sack would ultimately set up a 35-yard field goal by Luca Congi, who extended his consecutive field goal streak to 24.
However, the offence wouldnât stop there.
On BCâs next drive â just their second of the quarter â they seemingly extended their lead to 11, courtesy of a leaping 13-yard catch in the endzone by rookie Courtney Taylor.
But, a holding penalty by offensive lineman Dean Valli, would eliminate the touchdown.
|26 and Counting...|
Lions QB Travis Lulay had another exceptional night under centre, highlighted by his first-quarter touchdown pass to RB Andrew Harris to extend his consecutive games with a TD streak to 25.
Â» Watch: Lulay's TD to Harris
Despite the call, the Lions offence would continue to threaten, eventually earning a fresh set of downs from the one-yard line.
With the jumbo unit in, led by backup pivot Mike Reilly, the Lions would need just two plays from the one to get in the endzone flag-free, as Harris found his way across the plane for his second major of the half.
To that point, Lulay had completed all 11 of his passes for 122 yards and a major.
But the Hamilton defence would settle down, headlined by rookie defensive end Jacquies Smith, who forced Lulay to scramble out of the pocket and throw the ball away in a hurry just prior to being sacked.
Lulay would be penalized for intentional grounding, while the Lions would be forced to punt for the first time of the game seven plays later.
However, the Ticats would not be able to capitalize off the punt, as they were forced to send Congi out to attempt a long 51-yard field goal.
With just 2:13 remaining in the half, Congi's consecutive field goals streak would come to a close, as he came up just short of splitting the uprights.
Following the missed field goal, Lulay would lead the Lions on another impressive drive, one that was capped off by a 17-yard strike to Taylor who was finally rewarded for his efforts with his first-career touchdown.
The Lions would head into the locker room sporting a 21-3 lead.
Lulay finished the half 18-20 for 243 yards and two touchdown passes, while Harris had seven carries for 25 yards and a score, adding 57 more yards and a touchdown through the air in the process.
The Ticat offence, meanwhile, was hoping that an under-the-radar solid first half from Burris would translate into results in the second.
However, on Hamiltonâs first drive of the third quarter, Burris and his offence werenât able to move the chains, playing to yet another two-and-out.
On the other side of the field, the Lions offence was having no problem moving the ball. Lulay continued his superb outing, connecting on five consecutive passes to set up a 32 yard Paul McCallum field goal.
McCallumâs connection gave the Lions a three-touchdown lead with just under 25 minutes remaining in the game.
Following McCallum's field goal, it appeared as though the two offences cooled down, as the two clubs exchanged two-and-outs late into the third quarter.
However, it was only a matter of time before Lulay's arm began to heat up again, as he engineered an impressive drive to end the third quarter.
At the conclusion of the third frame, the Lions held a distinct advantage in time of possession, hanging onto the ball for 30:17, compared to the 14:43 the Ticats owned the ball for.
While Lulay brought the Lions inside the Hamilton 30 to start the fourth quarter, he wasn't able to find the endzone, as they were forced to settle for another McCallum field goal, this time from 25 yards out.
With the fourth quarter still very much in its early stages, the Ticats offence began showing signs of life.
After Onrea Jones returned McCallum's kickoff 62 yards to set up their next possession at BC's 31-yard line, the Ticats needed only three plays to get themselves back in the game, thanks to a 15-yard touchdown run by Cobourne.
Hamilton would make the score 27-11, as Fantuz hauled in the two-point conversion immediately after.
However, it seemed to be a case of too little, too late for the Ticats, as Tim Brown busted off a big return of his own, bringing Congi's offering back 77 yards.
Starting from inside Hamilton's 15-yard line, the Lions answered back in a hurry, as Reilly punched one in from one-yard out to restore BC's 23 point lead.
The Lions would pad their lead to 26, thanks to a 40-yard field goal by McCallum. The 42-year-old had a perfect night, connecting on all three of his field goal attempts.
With less than one minute remaining, the Ticats would put another six points on the board, thanks to an 11-yard touchdown grab by Bakari Grant, who just crossed the goal line following a strong second effort.
Next week, the Lions return home to take on the Eskimos on Friday night, while the Ticats travel to Calgary to take on the Stampeders on Saturday.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|