LIVESTREAM: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @BC Lions, July 14, 7p (10p EST, 4a CEST July 15)

VANCOUVER — Week 5 comes to a close with the BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers playing the tail end of a home-and-home series at BC Place.

While the Bombers have the momentum hitting the road after steam rolling past the Lions 41-19 just one week ago, the Lions hope a quarterback change to veteran Travis Lulay and a return to the familiar confines of BC Place can provide a much-needed spark after two straight losses.

Last week, running back Andrew Harris led the way with 109 yards on the ground and a touchdown on 12 carries. Pivot Matt Nichols returned from a knee injury, completing 16-of-29 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown in his season debut.

The defence was firing on all cylinders as well. Linebacker Adam Bighill had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

Everything appeared to be going right for the Bombers.

“It was a great game all around,” Harris told BlueBombers.com after the match. “I think Matt [Nichols] played well. He made some good throws. Our receivers were able to come up with some great catches. And our defence was lights out.”

It was the opposite story for the BC Lions, who would probably like to forget Week 4.

The Lions defence gave up 359 total yards, while the offence never found its rhythm.  Quarterback Jonathan Jennings managed only 105 yards in the air and threw two picks.

“I think it went wrong right from the beginning,” head coach Wally Buono told BCLions.com after the game. “We kick a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown. They get a little bit of rhythm. Nichols starts to feel the game a little bit. He did a good job finding the receivers and they did a good job of running the football.”

Jennings’ early season struggles has prompted the Lions to make a change under centre.

All eyes will be on Lulay when he makes his first start of the season on Saturday. It will be the veteran’s first start since suffering a season ending knee injury 10 months ago.

“I’m really optimistic and feel really good about the last couple of weeks,” Jennings said earlier this week. “Particularly the last three, four weeks. Every week I’ve said, ‘this is my best week yet.’ I did a little bit more. I was running a little bit more fluid…. All of that is trending in the right direction.”

The Lions are hoping that the change at quarterback will provide a jolt for the team, who currently sit at the bottom of the West Division with a 1-2 record.

The good news? There is still plenty of time to catch up.

A win on Saturday would put the Lions in a potential three-way tie with the Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders, who currently sit at 2-2. It would also leave just a single win between second in the division and last, further tightening what’s anticipated to be a wide open race.

Moreover, last week’s loss is still fresh in the mind of the Lions, and they are looking forward to a shot at revenge.

“They caught us on an off week, we’ll say, because that’s not the BC Lions we practice everyday and portray,” said wide receiver Shaq Johnson. “It’s definitely fun just being able to get back after them the consecutive week right after because we can really just show them after they put a beat down on us, we can put a beat down on them at home.”

One person on the Bombers squad that is familiar with the Lions is Harris. The veteran running back spent the first six years of his career in BC

He says that Head Coach Wally Buono will have his team ready to go in the rematch.

“Wally kind of plays Jedi mind tricks with you sometimes” joked Harris. “He uses reverse psychology to get the guys amped up… I know he just wanted them to respond in a better way, especially at home.

“He always preaches that you’re only as good as your last game.”

This game will be a homecoming of sorts for a number of players on the Blue Bombers roster, not just Harris.

Adam Bighill returns to Vancouver for the first time wearing Bombers’ Blue and Gold. The Winnipeg linebacker played 99 games in six seasons with the Lions, making 509 defensive tackles and earning four league-wide all-star nods while also winning a Grey Cup.

With Nichols back in the lineup, the Bombers looked very much like the contender many had pegged them to be going into the season. The added dimension of rookie quarterback Chris Streveler, who scored two touchdowns in various sets off the bench last week, gives offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice that much more to work with.

The Bombers’ lineup will almost entirely mirror that of last week’s, the same one that racked up nearly 100 more net yards of offence than the Lions, won the turnover battle 3-0 and didn’t allow a sack.

After the game Nichols said he didn’t get hit at all, to which Buono responded this week the Bombers’ quarterback ought to be more careful with his words.

Crunchin’ Numbers:

3 – Receiving touchdowns by Winnipeg’s Drew Wolitarsky, tied for the most in the CFL entering Week 5.

5.6 – Average yards per carry this season by Bombers running back Andrew Harris.

7 – Rushing touchdowns by the Blue Bombers this season, the most by any team.

70 – Career start for Lions pivot Travis Lulay this week. He last played on Sept. 8, 2017.

– With files from BlueBombers.com/BCLions.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM: CFL – Winnipeg Blue Bombers @BC Lions, July 14, 7p (10p EST, 4a CEST July 15)

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