REGINA — Ed Gainey intercepted Jonathon Jennings three times in the first half — returning one for a touchdown — and had four in total as the Saskatchewan Roughriders blew out the visiting B.C. Lions 41-8 Sunday at Mosaic Stadium.
The victory kept the Riders (3-4) close to the pack in the competitive West Division and four points behind the fourth-place Lions (5-3). It was the first Riders win versus a divisional opponent this season.
The Edmonton Eskimos, who the Riders will visit after a bye this week, lead the West with a 7-0 record.
Leading up to the back end of this home-and-home set with the Lions, Riders head coach Chris Jones stressed that his team needed to have a fast start at home for a shot at an upset victory.
His wishes were answered.
Gainey's first interception set up the first Riders touchdown — a 35-yard passing play from Kevin Glenn to Bakari Grant.
On the ensuing drive, Gainey again picked off Jennings and returned it 49 yards for a second Riders touchdown. The Riders led 15-0 after the opening quarter.
The home team held the momentum into the second quarter.
Cameron Marshall (one-yard run and 29-yard reception) scored two touchdowns and the Riders' lead swelled to 29-0 going into halftime.
Jennings, who missed the previous three games with a shoulder injury, was replaced briefly by Travis Lulay in the first half, but did return under centre to start the second half.
However, Jennings' bad luck continued on the opening possession. He marched the Lions to the Riders' five-yard line, by far their deepest drive of the game, but his fourth interception of the night snuffed that drive.
A seven-yard touchdown catch by Duron Carter late in the third quarter pushed Saskatchewan's lead to 36-0.
The Lions finally got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter when Jennings hooked up with Chris Williams, who sprinted past the secondary for a 56-yard touchdown. Marco Iannuzzi caught a two-point convert that made it 36-8.
Saskatchewan's defence registered five interceptions — the other coming from Derrick Moncrief — and four sacks.
Glenn finished the night with 320 passing yards and three touchdowns. Jennings completed 14-of-30 pass attempts for 195 yards. He had one touchdown and four interceptions.
The Lions return home to take on the Calgary Stampeders (5-1-1) on Friday. The Riders have a bye.