Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lions slip by Riders in preseason opener

A Sean Whyte field goal 3:17 into the fourth quarter was the difference Sunday afternoon, as the BC Lions edged the Saskatchewan Roughriders 19-17 in the pre-season opener for both teams, in front of 29,227 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

The Lions, who won just 8 games last season, finished 4th and crossed over to the East Division playoffs where they were dismantled by eventual Grey Cup champion Montreal, opened up a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Steven Black caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Casey Printers, with the PAT from Paul McCallum giving BC a 7-0 lead with 11:08 remaining in the opening quarter. McCallum's 43-yard field goal, off the upright and in with 2:53 remaining, putting the Leos on top 10-0 after one.

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie came on late in the first and had the Riders on the move into the second quarter, but the drive stalled when Luca Congi missed a 45-yard field goal. The Leos ran the ball out of the endzone to the 1, then moved out to the 38, where the Roughriders defense stiffened, holding on 3rd and inches. Saskatchewan quickly moved into scoring position, thanks in large part to an 11-yard run by Hugh "Flippin'" Charles. Moments later, Jason Clermont caught a 9-yard scoring strike from Dinwiddie. Ryan Elaschuk added the PAT with 9:58 to cut BC's lead to 10-7. The Riders took the lead 5 minutes later, as Dinwiddie found Rob Bagg with a 9-yard touchdown pass. Elaschuk toed the convert through, giving Saskatchewan a 14-10 lead with 5:11 left 'til halftime. McCallum booted a 43-yard field goal for the Lions with just 8 seconds left in the half and the teams went to the halftime with a 14-13 lead. The Riders, thanks in partt to the play on Dinwiddie, held a first half advantage in total yards, 206 to 144.

BC regained the lead with 9:57 remaining in the third quarter on a Sean Whyte 30-yard field goal, putting the Lions back on top, 16-14. Luca Congi thumped through a 30-yard field goal with 2:36 left, putting Saskatchewan back on top 17-16, heading into the 4th quarter.

Whyte booted his second field goal of the game, with 11:43 left in regulation to put BC ahead 19-17. Kent Austin quarterbacked the Riders in the fourth quarter, but had little luck in moving his team, and the Lions held on for the 19-17 win.

The Riders outgained BC 341 yards to 328, but lost the turnover battle, turning the ball over 3 times to the Lions' 1. Travis Lulay was 13-of-24 passing for 142 yards and a touchdown for BC, who also got 6-of-12 passing for 82 yards and a major score. Steven Black caught 4 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, Paul McCallum kicked 2 field goals and a convert and Sean Whyte added 2 field goals. For Saskatchewan, Ryan Dinwiddie was 13-of-19 passing for 141 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, Rob Bagg caught 5 balls for 68 yards and a touchdown and Jason Clermont had 2 catches for 22 yards and a touchdown. Luca Congi kicked a field goal and Ryan Elaschuk had 2 converts. The Riders had 9 penalties for 75 yards, the Lions 11 for 88 yards.

Saskatchewan, 0-1 in the preseason, plays at Calgary next Sunday, June 20th, kickoff set for 3:00pm EDT on 620 CKRM. They'll open the 2010 regular season at home against defending Grey Cup champion Montreal at 7:00pm EDT on Thursday, July 1st. BC, 1-0, plays at home against Edmonton at 5:00pm next Sunday, June 20th. They open the regular season at Edmonton on Sunday, July 4th, at 7:00pm EDT.

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