VANCOUVER — The B.C. Lions held on for a crucial win Friday night, but lost a pair of key players in the process.
The Lions took a 26-14 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks at B.C. Place.
Warm up that bus!!! 1:55 left.— BC Lions (@BCLions) September 8, 2018
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Veteran Lions (4-6) quarterback Travis Lulay threw for 108 yards and one touchdown before a hard double hit forced him from the game.
Jonathan Jennings took over in the second half, throwing for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Ottawa (6-5) starting quarterback Trevor Harris put up 186 yards.
Lions wide receiver Ricky Collins Jr., opened the scoring four-and-a-half minutes in, catching a 33-yard rocket from Lulay in the endzone. It was the 26-year-old’s second touchdown of the year.
Kicker Ty Long made the conversion, giving the Lions an early 7-0 lead.
The play followed a shaky start for B.C.
The squad lost offensive lineman Cody Husband when the New Westminster, B.C.-native went down with a leg injury on the first play of the night. He lay on the field for several minutes, being looked at by staff before he was eventually taken away on a cart.
The Lions said in a tweet that Lulay also got poked in the eye in the first series of the match, but the veteran pivot continued playing until near the end of the second, where he was hit by Ottawa’s Rico Murray and J.R. Taval simultaneously. He appeared to take a helmet to the chin and had to be evaluated by medical staff for an “upper body injury” and underwent concussion protocol.
B.C. finished the first half up 10-1, following a rouge out-of-bounds punt from Redblacks kicker Richie Leone and a 20-yard field goal for the Lions.
Jennings held the Lions starting quarterback role to start the year as Lulay rehabbed a knee injury. He was replaced in mid-July after throwing for 487 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in B.C.’s first three games.
The 26-year-old made an impression early in the second half of Friday’s match, remaining calm and collected to advance the ball.
Less than four minutes in, Jennings found receiver Bryan Burnham in the endzone for a three-yard touchdown.
The two-point conversion failed, but B.C. still held a 16-1 lead.
Ottawa narrowed the difference with three minutes to go in the third, when Harris tossed a two-yard pass to wide receiver Brad Sinopoli in the endzone for the Redblacks only touchdown of the night. Kicker Lewis Ward made the conversion, slashing B.C.’s lead to eight points.
Ward put up two field goals to whittle away the Redblacks’ deficit, but Long made a 37-yard kick of his own to keep the Lions on top.
B.C. running back Jeremiah Johnson effectively ended the game with two minutes to go when he scored the Lions’ third touchdown of the night.
The Lions will be back in action next Friday when they visit Montreal. The Redblacks will play again on Sept. 15 in Saskatchewan.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press