VANCOUVER -- Travis Lulay looked solid in his return to the BC lineup, completing three of his four passes for 54 yards and a rushing touchdown, as the Lions downed the Calgary Stampeders 26-7 on Friday night in Vancouver.
With tonight's result, the Lions evened the season series between the two clubs, with each team winning two games.
Both the Lions and Stampeders played all three of their quarterbacks, with Calgary's Drew Tate getting the most action. He completed seven of his 14 passes for 65 yards.
After coming off the bench in relief of Thomas DeMarco and impressing against the Eskimos last week, Buck Pierce was given his first start since Week 4.
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Unlike last week when Pierce was going up against a suspect Eskimos defence, the veteran pivot had some trouble right off the bat.
Already trailing 3-0 as a result of a 46-yard field goal by Rene Paredes, Pierce saw his pass intended for Courtney Taylor intercepted by Deron Mayo on his first attempt of the game.
Fortunately for Pierce, the Stampeders weren’t able to capitalize off the turnover.
On his next possession, however, Pierce displayed the poise and confidence that he showed last week against the Esks.
Helped by a pair of costly penalties by the Stamps – including a pass interference call on Brandon Smith – Pierce guided the Lions 87 yards downfield on 11 plays, the last of which being a one-yard touchdown run by Andrew Harris.
The score was Harris’ team-leading 11th of the season. He finished the game with 102 rushing yards, giving him 998 on the season.
Heading into tonight’s matchup, both teams had already locked down their respective spots in the post season. And despite it being the season finale, head coaches John Hufnagel and Mike Benevides opted to start most of their regulars.
The move, however, came back to bite the Stampeders, as Demonte’ Bolden and Micah Johnson were both forced out of the game with injuries.
And after Kevin Glenn nicked his hand on a helmet during a throw, Hufnagel inserted Tate into the game, hoping to keep his starting pivot out of harm’s way.
BC would follow suit shortly thereafter, as Lulay hit the field for the first time since injuring his shoulder in Week 12 against the Alouettes.
His impact under centre was almost immediate.
First, the former Most Outstanding Player handed the ball off to Harris on consecutive plays for a combined gain of 20 yards.
Then, he threw his first pass since Sept. 15, hitting Harris for seven more yards.
Two plays later, however, Lulay showed that his shoulder is just fine, as he hooked up with Nick Moore for a gain of 36 yards.
On the very next play, Lulay capped off an impressive nine-play, 88-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
Before the second quarter came to an end, the Stampeders would run into more injury trouble, as receiver Marquay McDaniel suffered an apparent ankle injury. In an interview with TSN at halftime, Hufnagel confirmed that McDaniel will require an X-Ray to determine the severity of the injury.
The two teams would enter the half with the Lions leading 17-4.
Once the third quarter got underway, Thomas DeMarco was behind centre for the Lions, perhaps indicating that Benevides had seen all that he needed out of Lulay.
From there, it looked it as though both teams were playing a cautious type of football offensively, as a 21-yard field goal by Paredes accounted for the only points of the quarter. However, the Lions would answer early in the fourth with a 44-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.
McCallum would tack on his third field goal of the night midway through the fourth quarter, and would add another with less than a minute left, giving the Lions a 26-7 lead, one that would stand as the final score.
Next week, the Lions head to Saskatchewan to take on the Roughriders in the Western Semi-Final, while the Stampeders will get the week off to rest and await their opponent for the Western Final on Nov. 17.