The BC Lions picked up yet another big win, taking down the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-10 at Mosaic Stadium to improve to 8-1 at the halfway mark of their season. For now, everyone in Lion circles will hold their collective breath and hope for the best after Nathan Rourke left early in the fourth quarter with a right foot injury.
Now for some game takes from Matt Baker following the gutsy win in Regina.
Rourke Status Up In Air
Rourke was brilliant on the night, completing 22 of 31 passes for 375 yards and two touchdowns while also recovering from a pair of first-quarter interceptions which prevented them from pulling away early. And then early in the fourth quarter, he went down with a right foot injury after getting tackled by Roughriders’ defensive lineman Pete Robertson.
Rourke was walking under his own power with an ice pack after the game and was slated to be re-evaluated sometime after the club returned to Vancouver in the very early hours of Saturday morning. Head coach Rick Campbell spoke on the injury after the game but was not able to give a concrete update.
“They just don’t know, Obviously, he’s in pain but we’re hoping for good thoughts and our doctor said it would be restless to speculate on anything because they just don’t know yet. They have to do further tests for it and look at it,” he said.
Campbell noted that it was indeed a chippy game with potential playoff positioning and tiebreakers on the line. Michael O’Connor came in and completed all five of his passes for 36 yards. Should the UBC product be given the keys for next week’s rematch, the coaching staff feels more than comfortable it can be a seamless transition.
“We’ll evaluate after we see what’s going on, but we’ll be smart with it and hopefully we’re talking that he’s back very soon,” added Campbell.
“I’m also proud of the way Michael came into the game and finished it off for us. Onward we go.”
We were perhaps once again robbed of another record-setting passing performance for number 12. The win and his health take precedence. Rourke helped break the game open with a 90-yard touchdown strike to Lucky Whitehead that helped stoke the visitors to a 21-10 halftime lead. Then on their opening series after the break, Bryan Burnham delivered with a brilliant one-handed catch in the back of the end zone to round out the scoring. These playmakers proved once again they mean business.
“We kind of et set that up,” said Whitehead of his long touchdown.
“We watch the film, too. We know Nick (Marshall) likes to sit on routes and peak in the backfield. We’ve seen it enough. We ran it and operated it the same way we did last time. Now those guys got to respect it and know that we can go deep.”
Added Burnham on his acrobatic touchdown grab that will surely make the Sportscentre Top Ten: “It was just man-to-man coverage. Nathan put it up for me and threw a nice ball. And it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s just instincts. I don’t really remember thinking too much. I just saw the ball, things kind of slowed down for me when the ball was in the air and yeah, went and caught it.”
A stout Lions defence forced seven turnovers, including interceptions by Marcus Sayles, Loucheiz Purifoy and Ben Hladik, plus three that came on downs and a fumble recovery by Jordan Williams.
“Once we do what we do man, everything just plays itself out and that’s what we did,” said Delvin Breaux Sr.
“We kept the ball in front, made plays when balls were in the air, so we’re just doing what we’re doing through the week so it pays off on game day.”
Breaux Sr. credits extra work on the jugs machine for the defensive backs coming up with the interceptions.
They also made life hard for Riders’ QB Mason Fine who replaced Cody Fajardo just before halftime.
504-the total offence for the Lions in another impressive outing.
263– combined receiving yards for Whitehead (136) and Domonique Rhymes (127).
63- a game-high in rushing yards for Rourke.
7– turnovers committed by Ryan Phillips’ defence.
3– quarterback sacks by the Lions in this one. Two for David Menard and another for Obum Gwacham.
The two teams will clash once again next Friday, August 26 at BC Place in their final regular season meeting. Kickoff is 7:30 pm PT.