LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – BC Lions @Calgary Stampeders, August 4, 7p (9p EST, 3a CEST Aug. 5)

CALGARY — The BC Lions know they’re in for a challenge on Saturday night at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

Facing the league-leading, undefeated Stampeders on their own turf will be challenge enough, but the Lions will have to do it without return man Chris Rainey, running back Brandon Rutleyand receiver Shaq Johnson.

BC is a bruised bunch, with starting running back Jeremiah Johnson also returning from the injured list and quarterback Travis Lulay making just his third start off a serious knee injury.

But with the West Division’s top clubs already creating separation space between themselves and the 2-3 Lions, Saturday’s game in Calgary is important for Wally Buono’s team.

“They’re a very well-coached football team, very physical in all three facets,” Buono told BCLions.com. “The offence is physical when they run the football, all three components on defence are excellent within the system, (and) their pass rush with just four guys is something you have to be aware of.”

The Leos’ pass rush has been inconsistent this season, and General Manager Ed Hervey pulled the trigger on a move to address that last week with the acquisition of defensive end Shawn Lemon.

“I beat them in the Grey Cup last year. I’m excited. It’s a good test for us as a team,” said Lemon, who recorded one sack in five games this season with Toronto prior to the bye-week trade. “It’s kind of a blessing to get in on a bye week so to say. You get time to get adjusted to the city, adjusted to the playbook. I’m feeling more and more confident with more reps every day.”

Calgary’s offensive line has given opposing teams fits over the last number of seasons, and a veteran like Lemon understands their blocking schemes and what the Stamps will try to do come Saturday.

“It’s not good against a quarterback like Bo (Levi Mitchell) to rush individually. Rush together, understand what other guys are doing and just try to play as fast as possible,” said the eighth-year veteran Lemon. “We just have to come out and be aggressive. It’s about executing the game plan, trusting the guys next to us and understanding we have to rush together.”

In addition to battling the current edition of the Stamps — which is 6-0 and pretty good in its own right — the Lions will also be battling history: BC has lost six straight games, including two in the playoffs, at McMahon.

“It would be very big for this team moving forward to get a road win in this division,” said receiver Bryan Burnham. “We have to do our best to extend drives, stay on the field and give our defence a rest when they need it because they’ve really been great all season.”

BC has shown flashes in all three phases this season, but has yet to put together a 60-minute effort.

“As an offence, we haven’t been helping them,” continued Burnham. “(Special teams coordinator) Jeff Reinebold always talks about complementary football and that’s the offence helping out the defence when we can and staying on the field. We just have to move the ball, pick up first downs and we’ll be alright.”

Personnel-wise, the Lions will make seven changes to the lineup that lost in Ottawa two weeks ago.

The key pieces entering are the aforementioned Johnson at running back and Lemon at D-end, while Kevin Elliott will start at wide receiver in place of Shaq Johnson.

A Florida A&M product, Elliott has seen his receptions and games played decrease each season since catching 50 passes for 642 yards as a member of the Toronto Argonauts in 2015; he was limited to just five catches in three games split between Hamilton and Ottawa last season.

The incredible thing about the Stamps’ perfect start to the season is everybody affiliated with the team believes they can play at a significantly higher level.

Key players have been in and out of the lineup and on any given night the offence has alternately dominated or been largely stifled.

Calgary’s injury woes will continue this week, with rookie running back Romar Morris slated to make his second straight start in place of the injured Don Jackson.

“I’m ready to go out there and make an impact,” Morris told Stampeders.com. “I want to go out there and have a great game and fill in seamlessly like last week. I know that I’ve put in the work to get to this point now it’s just all about putting everything together from the practice field to game action.”

Calgary running backs coach Marc Mueller believes Morris, a UNC product who carried the ball 12 times for 43 yards against Saskatchewan in Week 7, is ready to handle Jackson’s duties.

“We’re very confident that Romar will play a sound game like he did the week before,” said Mueller. “It’s what we expect from whoever is out there, to represent the horse that everyone has before you.”

Top receiver Eric Rogers will also be out for the foreseeable future following a minor knee surgery on Wednesday; the 27 year-old sits second on the Stampeders with 329 receiving yards thus far in 2018.

The challenge posed by BC is one head coach Dave Dickenson — a former Lion and player under Buono himself — knows inside and out.

“We know BC is going to come in firing all of their bullets and we have to match that and be ready to go,” said the four-time Grey Cup Champion. “It’s always a tough game against them, we’ve had some classics against BC and hopefully we find a way to get that seventh win and stay with our lead in the West.”

Offensive lineman Randy Richards will also make his season debut for Calgary at right tackle.

Crunchin’ Numbers:

– Of previous nine meetings between the two teams have been won by Calgary.

12 – Defensive tackles for BC’s Jordan Herdman in his team’s Week 6 loss at Ottawa. That number was the highest in league history for a first-year starter since the stat began being tracked in 1987.

14– Points or more the Stamps have led by in each of their first six games this season. Only two teams in CFL history have led by that number of points in more than six consecutive games: 1982 Winnipeg Blue Bombers (seven), 2011 BC Lions (seven).

The Calgary Stampeders are shaping up to be one of the best defensive teams in the history of the CFL; the BC Lions are struggling to put up points consistently.

But: Travis Lulay is working back into form after a long injured spell, and the Lions do have Jeremiah Johnson back this week.

Second but: The Stamps defence is giving up 10.2 points a night.

Third but: Calgary is downright dominant at McMahon Stadium.

A win would be massive for both teams; Calgary will want to maintain its two-game lead on second-place Edmonton, while the Lions will hope to make up some ground on Saskatchewan (26-19L @ Edmonton) and Winnipeg (bye) in the West Division standings.

Should be a fun one in Cowtown.

– With files from BCLions.com/Stampeders.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 PPV: CFL – BC Lions @Calgary Stampeders, August 4, 7p (9p EST, 3a CEST)

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