CFL: McLeod Bethel-Thompson leads Toronto Argonauts past BC Lions for 2nd straight win

TORONTO — McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Toronto Argonauts came out on top against the BC Lions in a hard-fought 24-23 home victory on Saturday. The 30-year-old quarterback completed 18 of 29 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown to win his second career start and give the Argos their third win of the season.

James Wilder Jr. had a big performance for Toronto with 18 carries for 91 yards and four catches for 49 yards, and Anthony Coombs had a strong season debut with 56 receiving yards and a 20-yard touchdown.

Jeremiah Johnson racked up 117 total yards and a rushing touchdown for BC in his return from injury, and Bryan Burnham led all Lions receivers with four catches for 91 yards and a 44-yard touchdown.

Both team’s kickers were perfect on the day, with Ty Long and Zackary Medeiros each knocking through three field goals.

The Lions opened the scoring on a lengthy opening drive that saw them move their way into scoring position with a fake punt. Quarterback Cody Fajardo took the direct snap on third down and completed a quick pass to Otha Foster to extend the drive, and a 15-yard run from Johnson set up Long for a 34-yard field goal.

Toronto answered with a field goal of their own on the following drive after big first down gains from Wilder and S.J. Green led to a 32-yard field goal from Medeiros.

Meideiros added a 39-yard field goal on the next drive after Wilder took a short pass and turned it up the field for a 29-yard gain, giving Toronto an early 6-3 lead. Wilder showed impressive burst and power every time he touched the ball, finishing the opening half with 91 total yards. The Argos extended their lead after a 69-yard punt from Medeiros resulted in a single.

Argos RB James Wilder Jr. Photo: Geoff Robins, CFL.ca

The Lions scored the first touchdown of the afternoon on a big reception from Burnham. Lulay dropped back with clean protection and found Burnham for a 44-yard touchdown strike, with 26 yards coming after the catch. Long knocked the extra point through to give BC a 10-7 lead in the second quarter.

BC’s offence kept things going on the next drive after their defence forced a turnover on downs. Johnson continued to show just how much he was missed, as the dynamic running back scored a two-yard touchdown run after putting the offence in position to score with a 21-yard catch and several hard runs. Long added the extra point to put the Lions up 17-7.

Toronto made it a seven-point game before the half with Medeiros’ third field goal of the game, a 44-yard kick that was set up by first down catches from Rodney Smith and Armanti Edwards.

The Lions added to their lead at the start of the third quarter when Lulay found Arceneaux for a 32-yard catch that put Long in position to make a 45-yard field goal.

Bethel-Thompson answered back by leading the Argos to their first touchdown of the game. Bethel-Thompson stood tall against heavy pressure from BC’s defensive front and threw an accurate strike to Coombs for a 20-yard touchdown. Medeiros added the extra point to cut the Lions’ lead down to three points.

The Argos’ offence continued to move the ball efficiently in the fourth quarter as Bethel-Thompson led a 87-yard drive that resulted in a QB sneak touchdown from James Franklin. Coombs came up big once again on the drive, showcasing his speed on a pivotal 30-yard catch and run. The extra point from Medeiros gave the Argos a 24-20 lead with just over ten minutes remaining.

Long came through with a big 46-yard field goal to bring BC within a point near the end of the game, but The Lions’ comeback attempt fell short when Argos defensive back Jermaine Gabriel knocked the ball loose from Arceneaux for a pivotal fumble. Linebacker Marcus Ball recovered for the Argos to secure the 24-23 victory.

Week 11 will see the Argos travel on the road to face the Montreal Alouettes on Friday, while the Lions will host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.

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