BC Lions win 3rd straight on the road, beat Hamilton Tiger-Cats

CFL.CA STAFF

HAMILTON — The BC Lions completed their three game Eastern road trip with their third consecutive win, overpowering the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 41-26 at Tim Hortons Field.

Travis Lulay broke a CFL record for most passing yards off the bench after Jonathon Jennings went down with a reported shoulder injury in the first quarter. Lulay threw for 436 yards on 29-of-36 passing for three touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown and two interceptions.

Lulay’s favourite target of the night was Nick Moore, who racked up an astounding 220 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.

On the other side, Jalen Saunders was nearly unstoppable for the Ticats with 147 yards and one touchdown catch on only five receptions.

The Lions’ offense got off to a rough start when Jennings’ first pass of the game – a long ball intended for Emmanuel Arceneaux – was picked off by Richard Leonard. The Ticats’ offense fed off of the interception as Zach Collaros led a steady drive down the field. The pivot connected with Luke Tasker twice and completed four-of-five passes before Jeremiah Masoli powered into the end zone for the short touchdown run to give the Black and Gold a 7-0 lead midway through the quarter.

Lions’ Shaquille Johnson leaps into the end zone for a touchdown
during first quarter CFL first quarter action in Hamilton on Saturday, July 15th, 2017. (CFL PHOTO – Dave Chidley)

Jennings was hit by Duron Colman on the Lions’ first offensive play of the game and was replaced by Lulay on the Lions’ second drive of the night.

The Ticats gave up 39 yards on a pass interference and rouging the passer call on the same play, advancing the Lions to the Ticats 38-yard line. BC capitalized on the advanced field position when Lulay connected with Shaq Johnson for the Lions first major of the game.

BC attempted a two-point covert to pull ahead, but the pass was picked off by Leonard, who ran it back into BC territory but was taken down to keep the score at 7-6 in favor of Hamilton.

The Lions would turn over the ball for the second time in the quarter on a Marco Iannuzzi fumble. Leonard pounced on the ball to allow Collaros and company to take over the field once again.

Hamilton continued to collect points off of the Lions’ turnovers as Collaros connected with Saunders for a long 60 yard gain to put the Ticats in the red zone. Ross Scheuerman charged across the plane at the beginning of the second quarter to cap off the drive with a four-yard major. The extra-point convert sailed wide left to keep the score at 13-6.

The Lions responded before the end of the quarter on a scoring drive that covered 95 yards on eight plays. Lulay found four different receivers for double digit gains before punching it into the end zone himself on a one-yard quarterback sneak. The successful two-point convert attempt gave the Lions their first lead of the game with just under two minutes to go.

But the Lions weren’t done there.

The Ticats didn’t have the ball back for long as Collaros’ next pass was intercepted by T.J. Lee in Hamilton territory. Lulay made quick work of the short field, finding Moore in the end zone to give the Lions their second touchdown in 59 second.

Hamilton’s Sergio Castillo notched a 48-yard field goal with zeros left on the clock to cut the Lions lead to 21-16 heading into halftime.

The Lions struck first in the second half when Lulay found Moore in stride along the right sideline for a 69-yard gain, but Hamilton’s defense held strong, forcing the Lions to settle for a 13-yard field goal to pull further ahead 24-16.

The Lions continued to expose the Ticats secondary before the end of the quarter. Bryan Burnham made an impressive one-handed snag in the end zone that was initially ruled incomplete. However, the play was reviewed and the call was overturned to give Lulay his third touchdown pass of the game to pull the Lions ahead 31-16.

BC notched a 50-yard field goal at the start of the final quarter to continue to pull further away from the Tabbies.

The Ticats attempted to claw back into the cat fight as Collaros responded with a touchdown drive of his own. The pivot connected with Saunders in the right corner of the end zone for a 25-yard major. Mike Jones caught the two-point convert pass to cut the Lions lead to 34-24.

BC’s offence proved to be too much for the Ticats as Lulay continued his passing prowess. The Lions’ quarterback found Moore twice on the Lions’ late drive for 19 and 20 yard gains before Jeremiah Johnson capped off the drive with short touchdown run. The extra point was successful to push the Lions ahead 41-24 midway through the final quarter. A late Ticats’ safety left the score at 41-26 when the final whistle blew.

The Ticats will look for their first win of the season against the Edmonton Eskimos on Thursday night while the Lions return to Vancouver to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday.

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