EDMONTON — Their offensive output was awfully watered down to start the game, but the B.C. Lions found a way to fight through it.
Quarterback Travis Lulay passed for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns as the Lions came away with a 17-3 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on a rain-soaked Saturday night.
The Lions, who trailed 3-1 at the half, won their second game in a row to improve to 2-1.
“We just slugged it out and stayed patient,” Lulay said. “We had two well-executed drives in the third quarter, and that was the difference. It wasn’t easy in those conditions. The first half was just ugly. It was tough to get things going. It’s easy to get frustrated after a one-point half. But we stuck to it and showed a lot of will. The defence played lights out. It was a good character win, especially on the road.”
Lions receiver Andrew Harris, who scored B.C.’s second touchdown, said the heavy thunderstorm was a hard thing to overcome.
“It was a monsoon out there,” he said. “It was tough to focus on what was going on in the game because you were so worried about ball security and trying to stay dry. We just stuck at it. We’re a mature team and we kept composed. It was just about executing when the opportunities were there.”
The Eskimos (1-2) sit four points behind the undefeated Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL’s West Division.
“It felt like things were going pretty positive in the first half, but we lost our edge in the second half,” said Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly, who served as Lulay’s backup in B.C. last season.
“We still have a lot to work on. When you lose like this, you have a lot of tape of things to work on.”
There was a very slow start to the game as both teams struggled to gain any ground during a torrential downpour rivalling the intensity of the storm that plagued the Eskimos game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Guelph, Ont., last weekend.
Edmonton finally got on the board with four minutes to play in the opening quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Grant Shaw.
It took another full quarter for another play of note to occur as the rain continued unabated throughout the first half.
The Eskimos Rennie Curran was able to block a Hugh O’Neill punt with four minutes left in the second frame and Edmonton took over on downs at the B.C. 32-yard line. However, holder Kerry Joseph had the ball slip through his hands on the resulting field goal snap and it remained a 3-0 game.
The Lions put together their best drive to that point in the game in the final couple minutes of the first half, setting up a 31-yard field goal attempt by O’Neill. The wet weather would strike again, though, as the snap was bobbled and O’Neill was forced to punt it into the end zone for a single to make it seem more like a hockey score at 3-1 before both teams gratefully scurried into the dressing rooms at the half.
Edmonton had just four first downs and 71 yards in net offence in the first half, while B.C. had five first downs and 99 yards net.
Even though the downpour continued, the Lions put up the first significant points of the match just under five minutes into the third quarter as Lulay hit Emmanuel Arceneaux for a 12-yard touchdown pass to surge ahead 8-3.
B.C. continued to take control of the game with another TD drive that was capped off when Eskimo defenders T.J Hill and Joe Burnett collided, allowing Harris to take a Lulay pass 16 yards into the end zone for a 15-3 advantage.
The rain let up significantly for the start of the fourth quarter, but the offence dried up again as well.
The only scoring in the final frame came when Edmonton conceded a safety with five minutes left.
The two teams will meet again next Saturday in Vancouver.