SPORTS

Lulay extends touchdown streak to 22 games as Lions holds on to beat Argos 28-23

09/15/2012 10:25 EDT | Updated 11/15/2012 05:12 EST
VANCOUVER - Travis Lulay passed for two touchdowns and 390 yards Saturday as the B.C. Lions held on to beat the Toronto Argonauts 28-23.

The B.C. quarterback extended his touchdown-pass streak to 22 games, moving into second place all-time behind Montreal Alouettes legend Sam Etcheverry.

Lulay completed 24-of-40 passes as the Lions (8-3) posted their sixth win in seven games. Shawn Gore, Arland Bruce and Rolly Lumbala scored touchdowns for B.C.

"We overcame a slow start, I think that was important for us because it's not always going to be perfect smooth sailing all the time — and that first quarter was ugly, as an offensive group," Lulay said.

Cornerback Matt Black, off a fumble return, and receiver Chad Owens scored touchdowns for the Argos (7-4). The Lions led most of the game but had to hold off a late Toronto rally after Owens' 52-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter pulled Toronto to within five points.

The Argos threatened in the final minute, advancing to the Lions' 20-yard line. But B.C. middle linebacker Adam Bighill recovered a Ricky Ray fumble after Lions defensive lineman Khreem Smith knocked the ball loose. B.C. then ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Ray completed 19-of-38 passes for 311 yards as the clubs combined for 701 yards through the air alone.

"We came up a little short. We had some opportunities with some deep balls, some shots at the end zone but weren't able to come up with it. We battled hard," Ray said. "We made a lot of mistakes, a lot of penalties and some things we didn't do well but it was a 60-minute game, just came up short."

Toronto committed 13 penalties for 123 yards, while Lions had 10 for 72.

"We have to be more disciplined. I'm not going to sit here and talk about penalties. It is what it is," Owens said. "We had an opportunity at the end to win the game and I truly believed we were going to win. We just fell short.

"You can look at it both sides — even with all the penalties we still had a chance to win at the end and... if we didn't get the penalties we would have won this game."

After a B.C. single off a Paul McCallum missed field goal, Black scored the first game's touchdown on a bizarre play.

Lions running back Andrew Harris fumbled directly to Toronto's Kevin Huntley at the Argos 53-yard line. The burly defensive tackle rumbled along the sidelines, but Lions receiver Marco Iannuzzi raced back and stripped him inside the B.C. ten.

However, the ball rolled forward towards the end zone, and Black scooped it up at the two-yard line and carried it in for the score.

The Argos took that 7-1 lead into the second quarter, but then the Lions gained control — even after Tim Brown's 83 yard punt-return touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty.

McCallum booted a 32-yard field goal and Lulay connected with Gore and Bruce on touchdown passes of 39 and 20 yards, respectively. Bruce's touchdown came after Lulay was hit and falling down as he passed. The veteran receiver added to the impressive play by jumping over Toronto cornerback Ahmad Carroll to haul in the ball.

Geroy Simon, who returned after missing his first game in four years last weekend with a hamstring injury, helped B.C.'s cause on both touchdown drives. He finished with four catches for 91 yards as the Lions built an 18-7 halftime lead.

Meanwhile, Gore added another 87 yards on just two receptions as the Lions racked up 329 yards in net offence — usually a decent game total — in the first half alone. The Argos could only muster 100.

But Toronto still managed stay close as kicker Swayze Waters booted a pair of third-quarter field goals to reduce its deficit to 18-13.

McCallum hit a 43-yard field goal early in the third quarter to increase B.C.'s advantage to 21-13. The Lions then caught a break as Toronto's Spencer Watt had a 62-yard touchdown off a pass-and-run play called back by a holding penalty. But the Argos still managed to produce a 36-yard field goal on the drive, pulling within five points.

However, Toronto penalties helped the Lions reach the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. Facemasking, pass interference and illegal contact infractions gave the Lions the ball at the Argos one-yard line. From there, Lumbala plunged across the goal-line, staking the Lions to a 28-16 advantage.

But a Waters fake punt helped Toronto get closer. Two plays after Waters ran the ball to the B.C. 52-yard line, Ray hooked up with Owens on a scoring pass.

Note: Bighill's game-saving play came as his future as the starting middle linebacker was in doubt because of Solomon Elimimian's return from the NFL. Elimimian watched the game in street clothes. Addressing the media for the first time since his return, Elimimian said he was happy to be back but sidestepped the issue of his long-term future with the team.

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