Lions hope to end two-game skid in clash with StampedersJul 25, 2012 - 2:52 PM Calgary, AB (Sports Network) - While it is still very early in the 2012 season, British Columbia, the defending Grey Cup Champion, finds itself tied with Calgary for third place in the West Division standings as the two squads try to push the other deeper into the basement as they clash on Saturday night at McMahon Stadium.
The Lions started off the campaign well, with back-to-back victories over Winnipeg and Hamilton, but a setback versus Saskatchewan on July 14 was followed six days later with a 27-14 defeat at the hands of Edmonton at home.
British Columbia put the first points on the board against the Esks in the first quarter, as quarterback Travis Lulay locked up with Marco Iannuzzi on a five-yard TD strike, but after that the BC offense struggled to finish drives.
Lulay finished the meeting 28-of-38 for 360 yards, was sacked once and picked off two times for a squad that generated a hefty 451 yards on 68 snaps, but still landed in the loss column. One of the interceptions thrown by Lulay was returned 108 yards for a touchdown by Edmonton's Joe Burnett as the Eskimos scored the final 14 points of the contest.
Andrew Harris was responsible for a two-yard TD run for the Lions in the third frame, he finished the meeting with 65 yards rushing on nine carries and also logged game highs in receiving with 11 catches for 120 yards.
If not for the defensive touchdown and the four field goals converted by Edmonton's Grant Shaw the outcome could have easily gone in favor of BC.
As for the Stamps, they managed to snap a brief two-game slide on July 19 with a thrilling 41-38 overtime decision against Saskatchewan at home, preventing the Roughriders from remaining undefeated after four weeks of action.
After scoring just three points in both the first and third quarters against a consistent Saskatchewan squad, the Stamps ramped up in the fourth frame and posted 17 unanswered points, the final three coming on a late 17-yard field goal by Rene Paredes to force overtime.
In the extra session the Calgary defense yielded a 50-yard field goal by Chris Milo before quarterback Kevin Glenn hooked up with Nik Lewis on a 16-yard TD strike to win the game.
Although he didn't take player of the week honors, Lewis certainly made it tough on the voters as he turned seven receptions into 98 yards and three touchdowns. Glenn was solid as well, as he completed 27-of-42 attempts for 385 yards and four scores.
Because of all the back-and-forth scoring, kick returner Larry Taylor beefed up his season numbers with six kickoff returns for 110 yards, eight punt returns for another 117 yards and two receptions for 24 yards and one crucial major.
Taylor has been a stat machine for the Stampeders this season, not only leading the team but also pacing the entire league in combined yards with 1,046 over four games.
Glenn, in his first season with the Stampeders after being traded away from Hamilton, is off to a solid start to the 2012 campaign, compared to what he posted last season with the Tiger-Cats when he threw for just under 4,000 yards and has almost as many picks (17) as he did TDs (19). Already this year Glenn has six aerial majors and is completing his passes at a 71.0 percent clip, the latter number being the highest among active starters.
Aside from teammate Drew Tate, who is now out with an injury, Glenn has the top completion percentage in the CFL entering Week 5 action, hitting on an impressive 71 percent of his throws. Glenn is also sporting the third-best efficiency rating (104.7) to this point as well, even though his longest completion is just 39 yards and that ranks last among the regular starter right now.
Lulay is one of four QBs to have thrown for more than 1,000 yards, posting 1,116 to be exact, but among those signal-callers he has the lowest completion rate (.634) and efficiency rating (89.0) because he has nearly as many interceptions (five) as he does TDs (six) and that's something that needs to change in a hurry if the Lions are going to climb to the top of the mountain once more.
British Columbia is set to host the Stamps for the one and only time during the regular season on October 6, while three weeks later Calgary will entertain the Lions to complete the three-game series.
In terms of the all-time, regular-season series, Calgary is ahead by a count of 94-75-5 dating back to the 1954 campaign. However, BC won the most recent meeting in October, 33-31, and has now claimed victory in two straight and four of the last five encounters.
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