VANCOUVER – Travis Lulay passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns to help push the BC Lions past the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 27-20 Monday night at BC Place.
Lulay's three majors were enought ot out-duel youngster Justin Goltz who was making his second-consecutive start and first as the undisputed no. 1 quarterback in Winnipeg.
The Lions, who were upset in convincing fashion last week in Toronto, came out focused on the opening play. Led by LB Solomon Elimimian, who came charging down field on the opening kickoff to lay a jarring hit on rookie slotback Aaron Woods on his first touch, BC forced and recovered a fumble to start the game.
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The Lions converted the turnover into a Paul McCallum 27-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Goltz was named the number one pivot for the remainder of the year earlier in the week and it demoted veteran Buck Pierce to third on the depth chart. Goltz got some help along with the promotion, gaining sophomore receiver Chris Matthews back as he returned from injury.
After receiving a single point off a missed Justin Palardy field goal (41 yards), Goltz put together an impressive 5-play, 35-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 2-yard run by Chad Simpson as the Bombers took an 8-3 first quarter lead.
Goltz had the luxury of a short field after defensive end Alex Hall chased down Lulay on the Lions’ previous possession, stripping the pivot of the ball and forcing the turnover.
It took a few more possessions but Lulay and the Leos’ offence finally got their footing midway through the second quarter when he led a 9-play, 75-yard drive finding WR Shawn Gore for a 20-yard touchdown after freezing the defence.
The major put the Lions back on top by a slim 10-9 margin.
It was BC’s first touchdown since Week 4 after being held out of the endzone last week for the first time since 2005.
Defensively, Elimimian set the tone early on and continued to make plays in the second quarter, hauling in a pass that tipped off the left hand of Matthews and set Lulay and the Lions up inside Winnipeg territory.
Lulay made the Bombers pay, hitting receiver Korey Williams in the endzone, who came down with a spectacular snag, for a 14-yard touchdown. It was the first career major for the rookie speedster.
The Bombers bounced back however, on the strength of a James Green fumble recovery which was misfielded by running back and kick returner Tim Brown.
Goltz then went back to work, first hitting Matthews for a 12-yard reception on second-and-10 before racing 5 yards into the endzone himself for the touchdown to pull within one, 17-16.
Goltz thought he originally had a touchdown the play before when he found Matthews but the play was called back because the Occidental State product passed the line of scrimmage. Winnipeg got a reprieve however, as the Lions secondary took a major foul and set up the Goltz rushing score.
A punt single in the third quarter off a 59-yard kick tied the game up and the teams headed to the final frame tied at 17.
|Setting the tone|
BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian was making plays all over the field, causing a turnover on the opening kickoff and setting up a touchdown after picking off a pass in the second quarter...View Game Stats.
With the defences holding strong in the fourth quarter it was McCallum that looked to flip the field for the Lions. Two consecutive coffin-corner punts forced Winnipeg to work in the shadows of their own goalposts. The second, put the Bombers at their own 1 yard line and punter Mike Renaud had to take a knee and concede the safety, giving BC a 19-17 lead.
The Lions then opened up a nine-point lead as second-year receiver Courtney Taylor went to work. Taylor hauled in an 18-yard catch to keep a drive alive before bringing in an 11-yard touchdown reception with 6:19 remaining in the game to give BC a 26-17 lead.
BC had a chance to make it a two-possession game with 1:39 remaining when McCallum attempted a 45-yard field goal but he pulled it wide left giving the Bombers another shot to pull even after conceding the single point.
They took over with just over a minute remaining but Simpson was stopped short of the first down on a second-and-two and the Lions took possesion at the Winnipeg 47 yard line with 1:12 remaining.
BC couldn't put the game away off the turnover and a miscue punt by McCallum (3 yards) gave the Bombers one more shot to go for a score with 47 seconds left and scrimmaging from their own 45 yard line.
The Lions defence held strong though, forcing a sack on Goltz with four seconds remaining to seal the 27-20 win.
Goltz finished 13 of 27 for 112 yards and one interception. He also added 32 yards and a touchdown on the ground on 7 carries.
The Lions enter the bye week before hosting the Calgary Stampeders on August 17th at BC Place.
Meanwhile the Bombers return from the bye a day before when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Investors Group Field.