(Regina, SK) The BC Lions were in a generous mood Friday night, and handed the Saskatchewan Roughriders a 28-24 victory at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field on Friday.
Buck Pierce fumbled four times and threw two interceptions under constant pressure from a Rider defense that was seemingly having it’s way with BC’s new look offensive line, which often seemed confused with picking up the blitz giving Pierce little time to look down field allowing 9 sacks. Walter Stith showed that he is a work in progress replacing Rob Murphy, while Dean Valli also had a tough game at times. These deficiencies will need to be addressed or Buck Pierce will end up on the injured list in no time.
The Lions picked up key injuries as well, the most concerning being to running back/kick returner Ian Smart. Smart pulled up lame on a carry and looked to have popped a groin the way his body language was suggesting. Promising newcomer Emmanuel Arceneaux, who had a TD catch on the night, left the game with an apparent shoulder injury. The Lions got big scare came when Omar Morgan rolled up on the leg of Geroy Simon, bending the star receiver’s leg in a way it shouldn’t bend. Simon laid on the turf grabbing his leg but walked off under his own weight and thankfully returned to finish the game.
The loss of Smart left the return game in shambles and Darren Toney looked lost filling in for the CFL’s former special teams player of the year.
On a promising note the Lions defense looked pretty decent at times. Ryan Phillips picked off two Darian Durant passes and took one back for a touchdown, and the front four got decent pressure most of the night, registering three sacks and would have had a bunch more had Durant not been so agile and thrown the ball away on other occasions. Javier Glatt had a strong game for the Lions at linebacker, and Korey Banks looks as though there will be some exciting moments coming from him at his new nickleback position.
The Riders didn’t do themselves a lot of favours trying to win the game. They added turnovers of their own, and almost gave the Lions the win in the dying moments when Ryan Grice-Mullen was wide open deep but dropped the ball. Durant went 18-32 for 313 yards, 0 TD’s and 3 interceptions. 154 of those yards were to star Weston Dressler who served notice to the league he is quickly becoming the premier receiver in the CFL.
- The Lions have lost out on the Jamall Johnson sweepstakes as the former Lions linebacker signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Sad that an NFL tryout costs the Lions a good player, who may have had a bigger role here had he not left. The Lions apparently exchanged contract numbers with Reggie Hunt while in Regina, and will now explore the possibility of adding him or JoJuan Armour.
- With the injury to Ian Smart the rumored signing of RB Tyler Ebell could be finalized this week, or perhaps junior star Andrew Harris will dress. Martell Mallet had some promising carries, and looks to be a similar type of runner as Joe Smith.
- Former Lion Jason Clermont finished the night with 1 catch for 9 yards, while former Rider Anton McKenzie registered 6 tackles, 1 sack and a forced fumble.
- If Emmanuel Arceneaux can’t go Friday, we’ll likely see the other promising receiver in camp, Terence Scott get his chance to shine.
- Lowell Ullrich has more in a nice video blog he composed after the game in Regina. You can view it here.