REGINA — It took a short time, however the BC Lions nonetheless got here away with a 32-17 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday.
The Lions trailed 17-4 within the second quarter however rallied for 28 unanswered factors to enhance to 5-1 and the Knights dropped to 4-4.
Nathan Rourke, who continues to shine in his first season because the beginning quarterback, mentioned regardless of issues a couple of sluggish begin, he is assured the Lions can discover their manner as the sport progresses.
“(The rotation) was nothing particular. They had been simply there and we simply needed to (a) play at the next degree. “We’re very assured that if we do our greatest, nobody can stand in our manner however us,” mentioned Rourke.
“Due to Saskatchewan, they made some nice performs early on, however we discovered a manner. I am very pleased with the fellows who’re doing this.”
Like Rourke, defensive lineman Matthew Betts was assured the Lions had the time and skill to show the sport round.
“Even once we’re down, the ambiance is sweet, however the best way No.12 performs, we all know we’re at all times within the recreation. We have not actually modified something defensively. We had just a few changes to make and simply attempt to readjust and attempt to do no matter we may to get the offense again and provides the ball again, and we did that,” Betts mentioned.
BC entered the sport with simply 4 sacks by way of its first 5 video games. Anthony Lanier and Charleston Hughes gave the Knights sacks early within the recreation, however the Lions’ offensive line recovered and offered Rourke with spectacular protection the remainder of the sport.
“They did an ideal job. They will not blink at first of the sport. It was a tough begin and so they’ll be the primary to let you know that. However they undoubtedly got here collectively,” Rourke mentioned.
“It is a very gifted line of defense in Saskatchewan. . . . We knew our offensive line was going to be full and so they dealt with it and acquired higher as the sport went on. That was an enormous key for us to show issues round.”
The Lions, who’re chasing the undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the highest spot within the West Division, have not gone 5-1 in a season since main the division in 2007 with a 14-3-1 document.
Friday’s recreation was the primary of three scheduled conferences between the groups in 5 weeks. Rourke wasn’t able to admit that Friday’s win offers the Lions a leg up for the subsequent two video games.
“I feel each recreation we play, West or East, is necessary (however) the West video games are particularly necessary,” Rourke mentioned. “It is not simple to beat a staff as soon as, by no means thoughts thrice in a season.”
Rourke continued Friday’s hype, finishing 27 of 33 passes for 336 yards. He was 153-of-193 passing for 1,941 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Lions have some gifted receivers and that may solely get higher with the return of veteran Brian Burnham, sidelined since June 25 with damaged ribs and a punctured lung.
The riders are heading into their bye week after a troublesome few weeks. They had been hit by an outbreak of COVID-19 after a July 16 recreation towards Toronto in Halifax, which left them wanting final week’s return recreation towards the Argos. Additionally they needed to cope with high-profile suspensions of defensive finish Garrett Marino (4 video games) and receiver Duke Williams (one recreation).
Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who missed final week’s recreation because of the Covid protocol, injured his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in Week 2 and has worn a big brace each recreation since.
Regardless of these points, the Lions weren’t underestimating Fajardo.
“Fajardo is an efficient defender on this league. He is an ideal athlete, in order that’s how I deal with him. . . If he is there, he needs to be able to roll and be the man that offers them one of the best probability to win. In order that’s how we approached him,” Betts mentioned.
The Lions acquired touchdowns from Rourke with a 15-yard run by Jevon Cote and a 14-yard catch by Dominique Rimes. Kicker Shaun White had discipline objectives of 16 and 39 yards and a 46-yard discipline objective. Stephan Flintoft hit two singles within the opener. The Lions additionally had a security within the second quarter when Marcus Sayles ran for Raiders operating again Jamal Morrow.
Betts had two sacks, and Obum Gwacham and Thibaut Debile every collected one. Former Rider Loucheise Purifoy was an interception for the Lions.
Fajardo ran for one yard and Tevin Jones scored on an eight-yard reception for Saskatchewan. Brett Lauter made a 28-yard discipline objective.
This report by The Canadian Press was initially printed on July 29, 2022