Lulay steps in to lead Lions past Ticats

B.C. Lions 41 Tiger-Cats 26

HAMILTON — Backup quarterback Travis Lulay came off the bench to throw three TD passes and rush for another as the BC Lions defeated the winless Hamilton Tiger-Cats 41-26 in CFL action Saturday night.

The Lions (3-1) extended their win streak to three games while Hamilton fell to 0-3 in front of a home-opening sell-out crowd of 24,135 at Tim Hortons Field.

Lulay, Shaq Johnson, Nick Moore, Brian Burnham, and Jeremiah Johnson each scored touchdowns for BC.

Jeremiah Masoli, Ross Scheuerman, and Jalen Saunders scored for Hamilton.

Lions kicker Ty Long was good on both field-goal attempts, from 14 and 50 yards.

Ticat kicker Sergio Castillo was good on his 48-yard field-goal attempt.

BC starting quarterback Jon Jennings injured his throwing arm on the Lions’ first play from scrimmage — in which he threw an interception while under pressure — and was replaced for the rest of the game by Lulay.

Lulay also made a points-saving tackle on Hamilton defensive back Richard Leonard who had just intercepted him on a two-point convert attempt and was streaking downfield. Lulay completed 29-of-36 pass attempts for 436 yards, three TDs and two interceptions.

Hamilton’s Leonard intercepted Jennings and recovered a fumble in the first quarter, leading to 13 Ticat points, and added an interception against Lulay on a two-point convert attempt. Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros completed 30-of-48 pass attempts for 361 yards, one TD and one interception.

There were some signs of life from the Ticats, whose offence has been struggling. They came out strong, recording seven first downs in the first quarter and negating the storyline line that they had yet to get a first-quarter first down this season. They also scored a first-quarter TD for good measure. They had a 13-6 lead in the second quarter, until BC scored 15 points in 59 seconds late in the half and suddenly the Lions took a 21-16 lead into the locker room.

Long’s 14-yard field goal made it 24-16 midway through the third and a 71-yard scoring drive, capped by a six-yard TD pass from Lulay to Burnham, made it 31-16 heading into the fourth. Long hit from 50 yards to make it 34-16.

Hamilton pulled to 34-24 with 11 minutes left in the game on a 25-yard TD strike from Collaros to Saunders and a successful two-point conversion. But Lulay and the Lions struck back immediately with a 66-yard drive leading to a four-yard TD run by Jeremiah Johnson and the 41-24 lead.

A conceded BC safety made it 41-26.

Jennings opened BC’s first drive of the game with an interception. Pressed by the Ticat defence, he underthrew the ball to Emmanuel Arceneaux and Ticat Richard Leonard jumped in front to give Hamilton possession at its own 39. That began a 71-yard Hamilton scoring drive, ending with a one-yard TD push by Masoli for the early lead. It was only the second offensive TD by the Ticats this season.

Jennings hurt his throwing arm on the play and was replaced by Lulay for BC’s second series. Lulay marched the Lions 78 yards, with the help of a pass interference call and roughing-the-passer, and threw an 11-yard TD pass to Shaq Johnson. The two-point convert attempt was intercepted to keep the score at 7-6.

Lulay later hit Marco Iannuzzi at the Hamilton 34 for a 20-yard gain but Iannuzzi fumbled and Leonard recovered the ball at the 26-yard-line. Collaros led the ensuing 84-yard TD drive, highlighted by a 60-yard bomb to Jalen Saunders at the BC four-yard line to end the first quarter. Two plays later, Scheuerman ran it in. Castillo missed the convert and Hamilton was up 13-6 to start the second.

After not getting much going through most of the second, BC scored 15 points in 59 seconds. Lulay engineered a 95-yard drive capped with his own one-yard TD dive with 1:40 left. The two-point convert to Brian Burnham was good and BC took a 14-13 lead.

On the next play, Collaros’s attempted pass to Scheuerman was intercepted by T.J. Lee and returned to the Hamilton 21. Three plays later, Lulay hit Moore for a 10-yard TD and suddenly BC had a 21-13 lead.

A quick 29-yard drive by Hamilton led to Castillo’s 48-yard field goal with time expired, cutting BC’s lead to 21-16 at halftime.

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