CFL: Calgary Stampeders down BC Lions, remain perfect

CALGARY — Defence was the order of the day as the Calgary Stampeders downed the BC Lions 27-18 on Saturday night at McMahon Stadium.

Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell eclipsed the 350-yard mark for the first time in 2018, completing 19 of 31 passes for 370 yards and a touchdown. His favoured target in the win was Kamar Jorden, who caught five passes for a ridiculous 185 yards.

Travis Lulay went 25-for-39 in the loss for BC, racking up 281 yards and throwing a touchdown and interception.

The Lions battled gamely in the second half, but every bit of momentum gained by Lulay and co. was quickly killed by Calgary.

Ja’Gared Davis paced the Stamps with seven tackles; T.J. Lee stood out defensively for the visitors with a six-tackle performance.

Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 370 yards and 1 TD Photo: The Canadian Press

BC opened the scoring on the first series of the ballgame, capping a steady eight-play, 50-yard with a 40-yard Ty Long field goal.

Calgary responded quickly, with Bo Levi Mitchell stepping up in the pocket to sling a 53-yard touchdown bomb to Kamar Jorden; Rene Paredes nailed the convert, and the Stamps led 7-3.

Jameer Thurman swung momentum further in Calgary’s favour late in the first quarter, when he collected a deflected Lulay pass for his first interception of the season; the Stamps were unable to move the chains past midfield, however, and were forced to punt.

A 44-yard kick from Paredes midway through the second quarter extended Calgary’s lead to 10-3.

The Stamps offence roared to life inside the three-minute warning, as — backed up against the goal line — Mitchell aired one out for a 62-yard completion to Jorden; six plays later, Nick Arbuckle ground his way into the end zone from a yard out to complete the 102-yard drive. The ensuing Paredes convert sent Calgary to the locker room with a 17-3 lead.

BC began brightly in the second half, with the Lions defence forcing a two-and-out before a monstrous Travon Van return gave the Lions great field position. The visitors could not convert that position into points, however, as a third-and-goal pass from Lulay sailed incomplete over a diving Cory Watson in the end zone.

Punter Rob Maver then tacked on a single for the Stampeders with a booming 58-yard punt, extending the lead to 15.

Lulay responded by marching the Lions 70 yards on five plays — highlighted by a 48-yard connection to Emmanuel Arceneaux — to set up a five-yard Jeremiah Johnson touchdown run; Long’s convert cut the deficit to 18-10.

Calgary responded on the following drive, as — aided by three penalties, including an objectionable-conduct call on Anthony Orange which extended the drive — the Stamps punched the ball in from the one-yard line via Nick Arbuckle. Paredes made good on the convert to restore the hosts’ 15-point lead.

The Stamps defence then contributed two points, forcing BC to concede a safety on third down following a tackle-for-loss by Ciante Evans.

BC ratcheted the pressure up somewhat with just under five minutes remaining, as Lulay found Bryan Burnham for the latter’s first touchdown of the season; Long’s convert, plus a single on the subsequent kickoff, brought the visitors within nine.

It was as close as the Lions would come, as star Stamps linebacker Alex Singleton secured the win with 90 seconds left on a key solo tackle — his sixth of the night — in a critical third-down situation.

The loss dropped the Lions to 2-4; Wally Buono’s team will now return home for a critical divisional game against Edmonton (5-2) on Thursday Night Football (Aug. 9, 10 p.m. ET).

Calgary moved to 7-0 with the win, and will now have two full weeks off prior to a Week-10 visit to Regina (Aug. 19, 7 p.m. ET).

The victory etched the 2018 edition of the Stampeders into the franchise’s history book, as Dave Dickenson’s group became just the fifth squad in the team’s 74-year history to begin a season 7-0 (1948, ’49, ’93 and ’95).

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