VANCOUVER -- Kevin Glenn threw one touchdown pass and rushed for another, as the BC Lions just held on for a narrow 36-29 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night at BC Place.
In a back-and-forth game that saw the Ticats storm back from a 17-3 first-half deficit, the Lions persevered for their second home win of the season and their fourth win in five games. Glenn finished with 407 passing yards on 22-36 passing, while Emmanuel Arceneaux had 103 yards and his fourth touchdown grab of the season to overcome a Ticats' offence that refused to back down.
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Dan LeFevour was his team's biggest threat on the ground and through the air after C.J. Gable exited the game, rushing for a game-high 103 yards on nine carries and a touchdown, including a 63-yard run in the first half. But a valiant effort in just his third career start wasn't enough, as the Ticats dropped their seventh straight game against a West Division opponent.
Following a pair of field goals from Paul McCallum and Justin Medlock to start the fourth quarter, the Lions got back to playing their usual shutdown defence for the final 15 minutes, holding the Ticats to just a field goal to wind down the clock and ultimately finish with an important win.
After an early field goal and a quick two-and-out from their defence to start the game, the Lions offence went back to work looking to add to their early lead. The drive started with a pass interference call on defensive back Brandon Stewart negating a Ticat interception, followed by an 18-yard pickup on a scramble by Glenn.
On the next play some misdirection caught the Ticat defence sleeping, as Andrew Harris had the entire right side of the field to himself for a 22-yard gain on the end-around. Glenn went right to the end zone after that, hitting Emmanuel Arceneaux on a corner route to give BC a 10-yard touchdown and an early 10-0 lead.
Hamilton looked to steal momentum back on an explosive 63-yard run by LeFevour followed by a field goal and then a surprise onside kick, but a stellar Lions’ defence stood in the way and minimized the damage, sustaining their lead.
The Ticats’ recent penalty troubles continued after that, as two straight personal fouls gave the Lions possession at the 35-yard-line. A 14-yard completion from Glenn to fullback Rolly Lumbala moved the chains from there, before Glenn called his own number for a 19-yard touchdown run.
The run marked Glenn’s second big gain on the ground in this game, and his first rushing touchdown since he was a member of the Ticats in 2011 to give the Lions a commanding 17-3 lead through one quarter of play.
After a big catch by Samuel Giguere followed by a botched snap inside the five led to a Ticat field goal, they finally made a splash thanks to some special teams help. Following a big defensive stop Brandon Banks changed the game in a flash, juking past would-be tacklers and putting on the afterburners for a 97-yard punt return touchdown.
The electrifying return in Banks’ first game back from injury cut Hamilton’s deficit to 17-13 late in the second quarter.
Another Medlock field goal was setup by a 47-yard catch by Giguere to pull the Ticats within one, but the momentum swing continued after that on a big defensive play when a pass deflected by defensive end Bryan Hall fell into the diving hands of Ticats’ linebacker Taylor Reed.
That led to a 38-yard field goal from Medlock to cap off an eventful first half, and gave Hamilton a sudden 19-17 lead through 30 minutes.
The Lions reclaimed a narrow lead in the third on a field goal from McCallum, before completions to Courtney Taylor and Arceneaux along with two more 15-yard personal fouls by Hamilton in between set the offence up in the red zone with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
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A pass interference penalty on Craig Butler gave the Lions yet another fresh set of downs, and from there Harris finished the drive off with a five-yard score to extend BC’s lead to 27-19. The scoring drive was aided by 35 yards in penalties by the Ticats, infuriating Kent Austin on the Ticats’ sideline.
But on the ensuing drive flags played in the Ticats’ favour. Starting with a 15-yard facemask on BC’s Torri Williams following a 20-yard reception by Cary Koch, LeFevour completed passes to Banks and Andy Fantuz for first downs to move into scoring range.
Then on second down from the 18 after an incomplete pass, Austin’s challenge led to a pass interference call against the Lions, giving Hamilton a fresh set of downs at the goal line. From there LeFevour powered through the pile, cutting Hamilton’s deficit to 27-26 heading to the fourth quarter.
But in the final frame after the teams exchanged field goals, the Lions' defence rose to the occasion, holding LeFevour and the Ticats to just a field goal in the fourth quarter to preserve the win. Down four points the Ticats punted away with just a couple of minutes remaining, but Glenn and Stefan Logan made sure the ball wouldn't find the hands of LeFevour again, adding a field goal and leaving the Ticats with no time to respond.
Shawn Gore had a team-high 117 yards on five catches for the Lions, but in the end was outdone by a career game for the Ticats' Giguere, who finished with 130 receiving yards on three catches. Rookie running back Mossiss Madu on the other hand had 48 yards on three catches for the Ticats in place of Gable, but didn't make an impact on the ground as the Ticats rushed the ball only twice out of the backfield for a total of minus-one yard.
Harris, the game's other starting running back, also left the game in the second half for the Lions after battling through an ankle injury all game seemingly suffered on his first carry of the game.
Glenn was more than capable of getting it done the rest of the way though, adding to an excellent performance through the air with an additional 36 rushing yards on two carries along with a touchdown.
The Ticats look to rebound back home next Saturday afternoon, when they take on the Calgary Stampeders in a matinee at McMaster University's Ron Joyce Stadium. BC meanwhile hopes to continue its roll with a visit to Toronto to take on Ricky Ray and the Argos.