LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Ottawa REDBLACKS @BC Lions, Sept. 7p (4a Sept. 8 CET)

VANCOUVER — Two teams looking for bounce-back performances will collide on Friday Night Football in Week 13, as the BC Lions host the Ottawa REDBLACKS at BC Place.

The Lions have had nearly two weeks to digest their last-second loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and at 3-6 will have to be vastly improved in the second half in order to challenge for a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive West Division.

Ottawa, on the other hand, continues to lead the East Division at 6-4 — though the second-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats are now just a single game behind the REDBLACKS, and beginning to crank up the pressure.

It’s a big game for both; Wally Buono’s BC squad wants to begin the back nine of the season on the right foot, while Rick Campbell’s REDBLACKS need to respond after a poor offensive performance on home turf against Montreal last week.

All systems were far from go for the REDBLACKS in last week’s 21-11 defeat at the hands of the understaffed Montreal Alouettes.

Ottawa took the loss against a team led by the likes of unheralded youngsters Antonio Pipkin and Ryder Stone, with quarterback Trevor Harris and co. failing to find the end zone on offence.

Head Coach Rick Campbell said his team tried to learn from the Montreal loss, then flushed it quickly.

“We always have things to correct, all of us. Me included,” Campbell told OttawaREDBLACKS.com. “This is the time (of season) when everybody’s close, and whichever team has that progress is going to be good.

“One of the biggest skills you can have in pro sports is to move on. It’s going to take all of our energy to beat this team this week. Any energy we’re expending living in the past doesn’t help us in Vancouver.”

Key to offensive success against BC, which features a veteran defensive line and hard-hitting signing Micah Awe in the second tier, will be the run game.

“It helps everything, keeps the defence honest, helps the offensive line out with protection,” said Campbell, whose feature back — William Powell — was limited to just 50 yards on nine carries against Montreal. “That’s always a point of emphasis to try and run the ball when we can.”

Offensive Coordinator Jaime Elizondo admitted the explosive plays which helped Ottawa win the two outings prior to last week were absent against the Als.

“Last week we had a setback,” said Elizondo. “We are not scoring from outside the 30. We’re not getting the chunks we had the past two years. All our yards have been manufactured.

“A great example was the second Montreal game, where we throw for 487 but nothing over 20 yards. Hitting chunks, that’s missing from our game. When you have to manufacture yards with a possession game, it gets hard.”

With the same crew at skill positions – Greg EllingsonBrad SinopoliWilliam Powell, etc. — for the better part of three seasons, Ottawa runs the risk of becoming a known commodity on offence.

“It’s always a chess match (against BC),” explained Campbell. “People are moving targets as the weeks go by — you try and be a moving target…not be predictable whether it’s offence, defence (or) special teams.

“Sometimes people don’t do exactly what they do on film, and you’ve got to be ready to adjust.”

It seemed obvious that changes were coming in BC, but the bye week brought with it five changes to the roster which lost 24-21 to Saskatchewan in Week 11.

The most notable: veteran receiver Manny Arceneaux will miss most — if not the remainder — of the season with a knee injury.

Speedy national option Shaq Johnson draws back into the lineup; the 25-year-old Brampton, Ont. native offers the Lions a deep threat, and had nine catches in the span of two weeks back in mid July.

“Right now, we’ve added some good players that are going to add to our team,” Head Coach Wally Buono told BCLions.com. “Micah (Awe)’s gonna help us, Anthony Parker‘s gonna help us. Shaq Johnson‘s gonna help us.

“It’s a well-balanced league…Ottawa’s coming in like us trying to amend a loss.”

Linebacker Otha Foster III will line up at SAM linebacker alongside the duo of Micah Awe — signed after his release from the New York Jets in NFL training camp — and standout second-year pro Jordan Herdman, and believes in his unit.

“They have a great group of receivers, Ellingson and Sinopoli are both playing well (and) Trevor (Harris)’s been playing really well,” said Foster. “But if we come out and play our game, we’ll come out with a victory.”

The memory of BC’s Week 6 loss in the nation’s capital is still fresh in the minds of Lions defenders.

“It came down to the last drive, we had a couple mistakes that allowed them to go down the field and score,” reflected Foster. “We tighten up a few things, we’ll come out this week on top.

“We know we’ve dug ourselves a hole with the first nine games, but we can only focus on one game at a time, and hopefully win some games.”

Rookie Ebenezer Ogundeko will make his CFL debut in rotational duty at defensive end for the Lions; the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Tennessee State product comes with an SEC pedigree, having spent two seasons — one as a redshirt — at Clemson (2013-14).

Longtime Stampeder Anthony Parker was signed by the Lions on Aug. 28, and will make his first appearance in orange on Friday; the Calgary Dinos alum broke the 400-yard receiving mark in each of the last three seasons with Calgary.

By The Numbers:

2 – Number of games Manny Arceneaux has missed in BC’s last 79 games — a streak that dates back to July 12, 2014. In that time, Arceneaux has accounted for 22 per cent of the Lions’ completions and 39 per cent of their touchdowns.

22.7 – Points allowed-per-game by Ottawa this season, the second-lowest mark in the CFL behind Calgary; if they continue at that rate through the rest of the season, it would be the lowest mark in the REDBLACKS’ five-year franchise history.

300-plus – Trevor Harris has thrown for 300 or more yards in each of his six career starts against BC. His record in those games? 4-2.

Welcome to the second half.

BC needs to start stacking wins — and fast — if it’s going to climb back into the West Division playoff race; Ottawa has Hamilton racing up quickly in its rearview mirror.

The Lions and REDBLACKS are two teams which feel they left points on the field during the first half of the regular season: Which one will pick up momentum on Friday Night Football to begin the back nine?

– With files from OttawaREDBLACKS.com/BCLions.com

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LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Ottawa REDBLACKS @BC Lions, Sept. 7p (4a Sept. 8 CET)

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