THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER -- The fumble on the first play from scrimmage looked like a bad omen for Travis Lulay.
But he made sure it wasn't.
After committing the early turnover, the B.C. Lions quarterback delivered a strong performance to beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 24-5 on Sunday before a crowd of 34,343 at B.C. Place.
Lulay ran for one touchdown, threw for another and handed off for one more as the Lions retained sole possession of first place by posting their third straight win.
"Mistakes are going to happen in a football game," said Lulay. "That's an important part, when a mistake happens being able to take a deep breath, relax, go out and play the next play without getting flustered and I was able to do that and the team felt that around me."
The last time the two teams, met the Riders came out on top but have not won since. Conversely, the Lions have not lost since then.
"Right now at this point we've got work to do," said Riders coach Corey Chamblin. "We'll find a way to win. There's some individual units that are getting better. That's the positive about it."
"I understand that we're a young team - that's no excuse. That was a good B.C. Lions team out there today, a veteran team. We've just got to make sure that we get some of our young guys turning into vets soon."
Arland Bruce and Ernest Jackson scored B.C.'s other touchdowns. The Lions' other points came in the form of converts from kicker Paul McCallum.
The Lions held their opponent without a touchdown, and under 10 points, for the third straight game. Cauchy Muamba led the way defensively as he recorded two interceptions.
B.C.'s strong defensive performance came despite the absence of key pass rusher Khalif Mitchell, who sat out the first of a two-game suspension for twisting Edmonton offensive lineman Simeon Rottier.
"We feel pretty good about winning football games if the opponent's only scoring five (points)," said Lulay. "That's just a great effort by our defence, especially in the first half when we weren't real consistent. We blew an opportunity down close and then the defence got a stop."
Lulay extended his touchdown-pass streak to 18 games, completing 22 of 30 passes for 257 yards. Saskatchewan's Darian Durant went 18 for 27 with 170 yards before he was pulled in the fourth quarter. His backup Drew Willy completed all five of his pass attempts, but could not generate any points.
With the game still very much a defensive battle, just before the third quarter ended, Lulay connected with Arland Bruce on a 55-yard touchdown pass.
"The safety, he made a mistake and left us open, and Travis took advantage of it," said Bruce, who made three catches for 93 yards.
B.C. defensive lineman Maurice Evans, who took Mitchell's spot on the roster, came up big early in the fourth quarter as he stopped Riders backup quarterback Drew Willy on a third-and-one situation, forcing a turnover on downs.
Lulay then guided the Lions on a nine-play scoring drive that culminated with his hand-off to receiver Jackson for a 15-yard touchdown off a 15-yard reverse which clinched the win.