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 Daily Courier - - SPORTS - By The Cana­dian Press

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.

Pre­dic­tion: Cal­gary.

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.

Pre­dic­tion: Win­nipeg.

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.

Pre­dic­tion: Ed­mon­ton.

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.

The Cana­dian Press

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.

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