British Columbia bows to Roughriders at home
Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - Offensive lineman Dan Clark scored his second career touchdown and it proved to be the game winner as the Saskatchewan Roughriders slipped by the British Columbia Lions, 20-16, at BC Place.
The major to Clark was thrown by backup quarterback Tino Sunseri who came into the game after Saskatchewan (6-2) starter Darian Durant suffered what appeared to be an injury to his throwing hand. The win was the fifth straight for the Riders after losing back-to-back decisions to Toronto and this same BC squad in July.
Sunseri finished the meeting 8-of-13 for 86 yards and Durant 9-of-15 for another 104 through the air, while Will Ford carried the ball 10 times for 108 yards on the ground.
The Lions (5-4), who had their three-game win streak snapped, saw Kevin Glenn convert 15-of-21 for 146 yards, but like Durant he too left the field due to injury, giving Travis Lulay a chance to play the hero for a BC team whose president, Dennis Skulsky, guaranteed a win or would offer free tickets to a future game to all in attendance. Lulay converted 4-of-8 passing for just 27 yards. As a unit, the Lions ran for a mere 56 yards on 13 carries.
The Lions received the opening kickoff and Tim Brown returned it close to midfield. However, the drive lasted a mere three plays before kicker Paul McCallum was called on to knock through a 38-yard field goal at the 12:33 mark of the first quarter.
After stopping the Roughriders on their first drive of the contest, Brown was on the field again for BC and proceeded to return the ensuing punt 75 yards for a major. It was the fourth career punt return for a touchdown for Brown.
Saskatchewan battled back in the second quarter, but instead of getting into the end zone the visitors had to settle for a trio of field goals by Chris Milo from 42, 12 and 45 yards out, the latter bouncing off the right upright and going over the crossbar as time expired in the first half.
McCallum broke up the run of Milo conversions with a field goal of his own, a 16-yard effort, giving the Lions a 13-9 advantage at the break.
The second half began with the news that Durant was staying on the sideline. Sunseri stepped in for Durant and found Rob Bagg all alone down the left side, but Bagg dropped what would have easily been a lengthy TD pass. Sunseri then watched his next pass dropped on a screen, forcing the Riders to punt less than a minute into the third quarter.
Stefan Logan returned the ensuing punt 48 yards down to the 17-yard line. The Lions lined up inside the 10-yard line on third-and-short, but were flagged for a procedure penalty, forcing them to settle for a 20-yard McCallum field goal and a 16-9 advantage. BC was charged with 12 penalties on the night for 104 yards.
Sunseri gained some confidence on the next drive for Saskatchewan, taking the team down to the 41-yard line and letting Milo convert a 48-yard field goal.
The Riders took their first lead of the game at the end of the third frame when Sunseri faked a handoff at the one-yard line and floated a pass into the end zone to Clark who made an acrobatic catch. The major, the first of Sunseri's CFL career, was set up by a 38-yard run by Will Ford down the left sideline.
With 5:38 left in regulation, Glenn scrambled out of the pocket and ended up having a couple of defenders roll over him. The signal caller came up lame and had to be helped off the field, forcing Lulay to take over the BC offense.
With two minutes to play Josh Bartel added a lengthy single to make the score 20-16 in favor of the Riders.
Lulay had a number of opportunities to bring his team back, but on the final play of the game his desperation heave from midfield fell incomplete.
08/24 22:57:52 ET