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Lulay helps British Columbia capture Grey Cup

Nov 28, 2011 - 7:09 AM
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Travis Lulay threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns to lead the British Columbia Lions to a 34-23 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to capture the 99th Grey Cup.

Lulay, who was named the CFL's Outstanding Player earlier in the week, completed 21-of-37 passes to bring home the Lions' second Grey Cup in five years.

"I think if we didn't think we could get here we wouldn't have," said Lulay. "We took it one week at a time and didn't take anything for granted, and this is the end result."

Another CFL award winner, B.C. kicker Paul McCallum, who captured the special teams' top player award, made 4-of-5 field goal attempts in the win.

The win also gave Lions head coach Wally Buono 254 in his career, making him the winningest head coach in CFL history. Buono also snatched his fifth career Grey Cup to tie him for the all-time lead with Don Matthews and Hugh Campbell.

Buck Pierce completed 19-of-37 pass attempts for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Blue Bombers, and Greg Carr led all receivers with seven catches for 107 yards and a score in a losing effort.

Trailing 31-9 late in the fourth quarter, Winnipeg staged a frantic comeback in the final minutes to put a game in doubt that had been all Lions through the first 3 1/2 quarters.

Carr's 45-yard scoring grab brought Winnipeg within 15 with 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation, and after a two-and-out by the Lions, Jovon Johnson returned the punt to the B.C. 14.

Faced with a 3rd-and-9 at the 13, Pierce hit Terrence Edwards for a touchdown to make it an eight-point game.

Winnipeg then recovered its on-sides kick attempt, but the ball failed to travel 10 yards and McCallum split the uprights from 34 yards out to put the game out of reach.

"I could hardly believe when I finally saw the clock hit zero," Lulay said. "Winnipeg kept fighting."

After forcing Winnipeg to punt deep inside its own territory early in the first quarter, Tim Brown returned the kick 21 yards to start a Lions drive at the Blue Bombers' 45. Lulay converted a 2nd-and-9 with a 12-yard strike to Akeem Foster before Andrew Harris broke free up the middle for a 19-yard touchdown and the game's first score.

Winnipeg managed just three yards on its next touch and Geroy Simon's 39-yard catch-and-run on first down set up McCallum's 22-yard field goal to give B.C. a 10-0 lead late in the first.

Two plays later, Anton McKenzie stepped in front of a Pierce pass, giving the ball to the Lions at the Winnipeg 46. The play was reviewed as the ball seemed to have hit the ground on the catch, but the call was upheld.

British Columbia could not take advantage of the turnover, though, and had to punt the ball back to Winnipeg.

The teams traded punts for the next five possessions until the Lions took over on offense at their own 28 early in the second quarter.

Faced with a 3rd-and-1 at the 37, B.C. decided to go for it. Backup quarterback Jarious Jackson took a snap and picked his way through the right side for a five-yard gain and a first down.

Lulay then connected on passes of 30 and 22 yards to Paris Jackson and Simon, respectively, to move the Lions inside the Winnipeg 20, but they could not get into the end zone and had to settle for a 16-yard McCallum field goal.

Justin Palardy connected on a couple of late field goals for Winnipeg to make it a 14-6 game at the break.

After trading punts through the first three possessions of the third quarter, a 41-yard punt return by Johnson set up Palardy's 33-yard field goal to bring the Blue Bombers within five.

The Lions tried to answer with a 48-yard kick by McCallum, but his kick bounced off the right upright.

The B.C. defense held Winnipeg to a quick punt and back-to-back catches by Arland Bruce preceded McCallum splitting the uprights from 22 yards out to extend the Lions' lead to 17-9.

The Blue Bombers' offensive woes continued as they were held to their fourth punt of the third quarter and Lulay connected with Kierrie Johnson on a 66- yard touchdown strike on the final play of the third.

Bruce later capped a nine-play drive by hauling in a six-yard TD pass over the middle with 6:29 left in the fourth to put the Lions ahead 31-9.

"We didn't play well enough through four quarters to win the game," Pierce said.

Game Notes

The game was played at BC Place, the home of the Lions. It marked the 12th time in the 99-year history of the Grey Cup that the game was played in one of the team's home stadium...The Lions finished the season with an 11-1 record when leading after the half...The two teams also met for the Grey Cup in 1988, with Winnipeg capturing a 22-21 victory.