Andrew Harris gave the B.C. Lions exactly what they were looking for — a boost and a win.
Harris provided a spark Saturday night and the Lions defence pitched a second-half shutout in a 26-13 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.
Harris racked up 203 total yards and scored one touchdown to lift the Lions (1-2), who had been playing with a listless offence the first two weeks of the season, to their first win. The Riders, meanwhile, have lost two straight and share the same record heading into their bye week.
“I think the confidence is building with our offensive line a and we were embarrassed last week (in Montreal) and so we really came back with a vengeance tonight,” said Harris. “We have to build off of this now and take this confidence and go forward with it.”
The all-star running back racked up 145 total yards in the first half, including 94 yards along the ground. His 58-yard run for a touchdown late in the first quarter gave the Lions an 11-0 advantage and was the team’s lone major in the opening two quarters. Harris finished the night with 132 yards rushing and 65 receiving, both of which were team highs.
“This was a character win more than anything,” Harris said.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn, who had thrown six interceptions in his first two games with the Lions, played turnover-free football on Saturday. He completed 16 of 27 pass attempts for 170 yards and one touchdown.
Glenn’s 20-yard touchdown strike to Courtney Taylor midway through the fourth quarter gave the Lions a 26-13 lead and sent the majority of the 32,864 spectators scrambling for the exits.
“It’s hard to come in here and get a win,” Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian said. “They had a great crowd here and that’s the kind of crowd you want to play in front of. It’s just a you against the world kind of feeling and it makes you depend even more on that guy next to you, trust in your teammates even more.”
Quarterback Darian Durant and Roughriders’ offence struggled for much of the night. Durant completed just 15 of 34 pass attempts for 191 yards.
“We were 0-2 and no one gave us a shot to win this game,” Elimimian said. “We knew a lot of times what (the Riders) were trying to do. The biggest thing with Durant is containing him a he’s the main cog in that offence and we got some hits on him tonight and that slowed him down.”
The Riders held a brief 13-11 lead late in the second quarter after Durant hooked up with receiver Taj Smith on a five-yard touchdown pass and catch. But after Hugh Charles lost a fumble on the Riders’ next possession, Paul McCallum kicked a 41-yard field goal, one of three on the night, to give the Lions a 14-13 advantage going into the half.
Saskatchewan’s Chris Milo made two field goals, also in the second quarter.
“I’m disappointed,” Durant said after the game. “I thought we would come out and put on a better performance than what we did. But you have to give B.C. a lot of credit. They came in here and took it to us.”