B.C. Lions smother Roughriders

Lions 30 Roughriders 15

VANCOUVER — Travis Lulay was 19-of-28 passing for 338 yards and a touchdown as the B.C. Lions rode a smothering defensive performance to a 30-15 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.

Bryan Burnham had five catches for a game-high 131 yards and a TD, Shaquille Murray-Lawrence ran in another score, and Ty Long kicked four field goals for the Lions (5-2).

Wide receiver Chris Williams, the speedster who signed with B.C. in February but spent the first six weeks of the season on the injured list while recovering from off-season knee surgery, made his debut, finishing with three receptions for 75 yards.

Kevin Glenn was 19-of-27 passing for 186 yards and two interceptions for the Riders (2-4). Brandon Bridge threw late touchdowns in relief to Duron Carter and Naaman Roosevelt to break the shutout, finishing 6-of-6 for 114 yards.

Carter, who made headlines across the sports world with last week’s incredible one-handed TD grab, had five catches for 83 yards and that TD for Saskatchewan.

The Lions led 30-0 with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter before Bridge led consecutive scoring drives.

The game nearly marked the first shutout in the CFL since the Riders fell 26-0 to the Edmonton Eskimos on Sept. 26, 2014. The Lions last blanked an opponent nearly 40 years in a 30-0 victory over the Toronto Argonauts on Aug. 23, 1977.

B.C. was coming off a 37-26 defeat in Edmonton — the Lions’ second loss to the Eskimos in 2017 — while Saskatchewan was coming off an encouraging 38-27 home victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

The Riders and Lions meet again next Sunday in Regina.

With a thick haze of smoke from the wildfires raging in the province’s Interior region hanging over B.C. Place Stadium’s open roof, the Lions led 6-0 after the first quarter on two Long field goals before Lulay found Burnham in the back of the end zone from 13 yards out.

Lulay, who made a third straight start for the Lions in place of the injured Jonathon Jennings, then ran in a two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.

The Riders looked to be driving for their first points on the next possession, but Anthony Thompson stepped in front of Carter to intercept Glenn deep in Lions’ territory for his first career pick.

Long then added a punt single before B.C. had a scare on its next drive.

Lulay stepped up in the pocket while under pressure and was crunched between two Saskatchewan defenders as he fell to the turf. The veteran pivot stayed down with what looked from television replays like a rib injury for a few minutes as the hushed crowd of 23,415 looked on, but he eventually popped up and walked off under his own power.

Long hit his third field goal of the half on the next play from 44 yards out to make it 18-0, and Lulay was back in the huddle for B.C.’s next possession to close out the half that saw the Lions wrack up 294 yards of offence to Saskatchewan’s 123.

Glenn entered play needing just 109 yards through the air to leapfrog legendary Riders pivot Ron Lancaster’s career total of 50,535 and move into sixth on the CFL’s all-time passing list.

In his 14th season, the 38-year-old Glenn got the accomplishment out of the way on the first play of the second half when he found quarter when he found Cameron Marshall on a 26-yard gain, but the Riders would eventually be forced to punt for the fifth time in six possessions.

Long then missed a 42-yard field goal for a single to put the hosts up 19-0 before rebounding with a 24-yarder on the final play of the third quarter on a drive that was highlighted by Burnham’s 50-yard catch between three defenders that got the Lions’ out of the shadows of their own goal posts.

Saskatchewan’s Bakari Grant and B.C.’s Jeremiah Johnson fumbled on consecutive plays early in the fourth to set the Riders up in Lions’ territory, but Glenn followed that up on the next snap with another turnover when Chandler Fenner intercepted a deflected pass.

Murray-Lawrence, who was brought back into the fold on Monday after getting cut in late June, then ran in his first TD of the season from two yards out to make it 29-0.

Long added another single before Bridge found Carter from 46 yards to get the Riders on the board before another long completion to Roosevelt from 45 yards out made it 30-15 after Kienan LaFrance’s two-point convert.

After picking up a victory in Winnipeg in Week 11 of the 2014 season, the Riders are 0-15 since on the road against West Division opponents.

And following an 0-3 start versus the West to start 2017, Saskatchewan is now 2-21 within the division dating back to the start of 2015, and 3-18 away from home across the CFL over the same period.

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