Jen­nings tosses three touch­downs as Li­ons beat win­less Rid­ers, 40-27

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - CRAIG SLATER

REGINA — Jonathon Jen­nings wasn’t in­ter­ested in be­ing a spec­ta­tor for the sec­ond straight game.

Rel­a­tively in­ef­fec­tive and even­tu­ally pulled in the sec­ond half last week in a home loss to Toronto, Jen­nings ex­ploded for one of his best CFL show­ings in a 4027 come­back vic­tory on Satur­day over the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers.

Jen­nings threw three sec­ond-half touch­downs and ral­lied the Li­ons from a 13-point half­time deficit, fin­ish­ing the game 25-of-40 pass­ing for 429 yards.

“Things were click­ing for us, fi­nally,” he said. “It was good to see the of­fence get on the same page. We came out in the sec­ond half and did some good things.”

The sec­ond-year player also had 30 rush­ing yards and one touch­down on the ground in a game that saw B.C. im­prove to 3-1 and grab a share of first place in the West Di­vi­sion.

The Rid­ers, mean­while, are win­less at 0-3. And with the Ot­tawa Red­blacks com­ing to Regina on Fri­day, nu­mer­ous ques­tions re­main as to who will be in the lineup for that con­test.

Fran­chise quar­ter­back Dar­ian Du­rant suf­fered what ap­peared to be a leg in­jury early in the sec­ond quar­ter on Satur­day and didn’t re­turn in the sec­ond half. He was hit low and late by Li­ons de­fen­sive line­man Mic’hael Brooks ear­lier in the quar­ter. Du­rant was seen on crutches on the side­line late in the third quar­ter and it was later re­vealed that X-rays on his left foot were neg­a­tive.

“We don’t know ex­actly what it is, so I’m hop­ing (Sun­day) morn­ing that the prog­no­sis is good,” Rid­ers coach and gen­eral man­ager Chris Jones said.

It’s the third time in as many years that Du­rant has suf­fered an in­jury that has forced him to leave a game. He suf­fered a torn lig­a­ment in his right el­bow mid­way through the 2014 cam­paign and rup­tured his Achilles ten­don on his left foot in the first game of the 2015 sea­son.

Du­rant’s last play on Satur­day was a 31yard touch­down pass to Rob Bagg that gave the Rid­ers a 10-7 lead. Mitchell Gale re­placed Du­rant for the rest of the game.

Saskatchewan led 23-10 at the half thanks to touch­down re­cep­tions from Bagg and Nic Dem­ski and three field goals from Tyler Crapigna.

But the Li­ons got rolling late in the third quar­ter when Jen­nings hooked up with left tackle Jo­van Olafioye on an eight-yard touch­down pass and catch on a trick play. On the next B.C. pos­ses­sion, Jen­nings dropped in a pretty 30-yard pass to Nick Moore, a score that put the Li­ons ahead 26-23 early in the fourth quar­ter.

Crapigna tied it up with his fourth field goal, but the Li­ons again had an an­swer. Jen­nings found a wide-open Shawn Gore for a 59-yard touch­down strike to put B.C. ahead for good with eight min­utes re­main­ing in the game. An­thony Allen added a touch­down along the ground to put it out of reach.

In ad­di­tion to Du­rant go­ing down, the Rid­ers also lost all-star left guard Bran­don LaBatte with an undis­closed in­jury, as well as re­ceiver Shamawd Cham­bers and cor­ner­back Justin Cox.

RICK ELVIN, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

B.C. Li­ons tackle Jo­van Olafioye (63) hauls in a touch­down pass against the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers in Regina on Satur­day.

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