Leos bite ’Riders

Running back Martell Mallett had two touchdowns and special teams player O’Neil Wilson scored off a fumbled punt return as the B.C. Lions beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 35-20 in CFL play Friday night.

Saskatchewan Roughrider Johnny Quinn

Lions 35 Roughriders 20

VANCOUVER — Running back Martell Mallett had two touchdowns and special teams player O’Neil Wilson scored off a fumbled punt return as the B.C. Lions beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 35-20 in CFL play Friday night.

A swarming Lions defence had five sacks, three by Brent Johnson, created turnovers and kept the Rider offence unhinged.

Lions quarterback Buck Pierce had a strong game and may have silenced, for this week anyway, the whispers over whether he deserves to be the starter. He hit Mallett with a three-yard touchdown and engineered some long drives. Mallett also scored on a 13-yard run late in the game.

Saskatchewan wide receiver Rob Bagg hauled in touchdown passes of 47 and 33 yards from quarterback Darian Durant.

Chris Szarka scored on a one-yard plunge in the last minute of the game but the convert attempt was blocked by Barron Miles. That was his 13th career blocked kick, setting a CFL record.

The win, before a crowd of 30,117, snapped a two-game losing streak and improved the Lions record to 2-4. Saskatchewan is 3-3.

Pierce patiently picked the Saskatchewan defence apart, finding open receivers and hitting them with crisp passes. He even pulled down the ball for a 21-yard run in the third quarter.

The Lions moved the ball with some hard running by Mallett. The Lions started most of their drives with great field position after blistering punt returns by Ryan Grice-Mullen.

The Lions scored on a wild play late in the second quarter to lead 19-14 at half time. B.C. was forced to punt from deep in its own end but Saskatchewan’s Gerran Walker couldn’t handle the kick. The Lions’ Jerome Dennis got a hand on the ball but it squirted loose. James Yurichuk kicked the ball down the field where Wilson finally scooped it up on the run at the 14-yard line and ran into the end zone.

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