Lions face tough test, trying to hand 1st home loss to 1st-place Stampeders
B.C. visits Calgary tonight for key game with playoff implications
The B.C. Lions’ playoff quest faces a stiff test tonight.
B.C. (7-7) visits the Calgary Stampeders (12-2) for a 5 p.m. PT kickoff.
The Lions are tied with the Edmonton Eskimos for fourth in the West Division standings, while the Stampeders are first with the CFL’s best record.
But that’s not all. Calgary is a perfect 7-0 this season at McMahon Stadium, while the Lions are a dismal 1-6 on the road. Calgary has already clinched a home playoff game. But the defending West Division champion is now looking to cement top spot and punch its ticket to the conference final once again.
B.C. has climbed back into playoff contention, winning four of its last five games, and is coming off a 26-23 home victory over the Toronto Argonauts. But the Lions will have a different quarterback under centre as veteran Travis Lulay returns to the starting lineup.
Lulay, 35, suffered a left shoulder injury in the Lions’ 32-14 home win over the Montreal Alouettes on Sept. 14. The Lions went 2-1 with backup Jonathon Jennings.
Jennings was just 14-of-24 passing for 199 yards and a TD versus Toronto but also added 47 yards rushing on three carries.
Jeremiah Johnson was the Lions’ offensive stalwart, running for 118 yards on 19 carries while adding three catches for 22 yards.
But the Lions still needed six field goals from Ty Long to fend off a comeback from Argos backup James Franklin. Branden Burks, replacing the injured James Wilder Jr., ran for 92 yards on eight carries (11.5yard average).
B.C.’s defence allowed 402 offensive yards and registered just one sack. But the unit also had four interceptions, including two by Davon Coleman.
Stout defence led Calgary to a 12-6 road win in Montreal last weekend as Bo Levi Mitchell earned his first victory at Molson Stadium. Mitchell finished 20-of-34 passing for 199 yards with three interceptions, but the Stampeders’ defence had three sacks and three interceptions.
Calgary has outscored its opponents 204-116 at home and is 4-2 within the West Division. By comparison, B.C. has been outscored 216-149 on the road and has just two wins in six contests against Western rivals.
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (today, 11 a.m. PT)
At Winnipeg, the Bombers (8-7) have won three straight to move into third in the West Division standings. Matt Nichols threw three TD passes while Andrew Harris ran for 132 yards on 20 carries in last weekend’s 40-32 road win over Ottawa. Saskatchewan (10-5) has also won three consecutive games and six of its last eight.
Ottawa Redblacks at Edmonton Eskimos (today, 2 p.m. PT)
At Edmonton, these are troubled times for the Eskimos (7-8) who’ve dropped three straight and six of their last eight to stand last in the West Division standings.
Ottawa (8-6) comes off a 40-32 home loss to Winnipeg as Trevor Harris threw for 349 yards and three TDs. Rookie Lewis Ward has made a CFL-record 40 straight field goals and 43-of-44 overall.
TIGER-CATS 34, ARGONAUTS 20
TORONTO — Jeremiah Masoli threw four TD passes as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Toronto Argonauts 34-20 on Friday to emphatically sweep the season series.
Hamilton (8-7) finished 3-0 versus Toronto (3-12) and Masoli was a huge factor with a combined 11 TD passes. On Friday, he finished 21-of-30 passing for 338 yards with two interceptions, surpassing the 300-yard mark in all three games and for a CFL-best 11th time this season.
Luke Tasker and Brandon Banks came up big against Toronto again. Banks had eight catches for 178 yards and a TD, while Tasker registered four receptions for 63 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.
Over the series, Banks had 23 catches for 466 yards and five TDs, while Tasker recorded 19 receptions for 297 yards and also hauled in five touchdowns.
B.C. Lions’ Otha Foster III, left, and Anthony Thompson, right, chase Calgary Stampeders’ Kamar Jorden during CFL action in Calgary on Aug. 4. The Stampeders host the Lions again tonight in a 5 p.m. kickoff.