Travis Lulay couldn’t be sure how his badly he injured his shoulder.
Other than that, no complaints.
The B.C. quarterback threw for a touchdown and ran for another before leaving late with a sore shoulder as the Lions beat the Montreal Alouettes 36-14 on Sunday.
B.C. improved to 7-4 while avenging a last-second loss in Montreal on Aug. 22. The Lions also atoned for a loss a week earlier on the road against Hamilton.
“It feels good to get a win,” said Lulay. “It was important for us as a team just coming off of last week.”
Lulay was hurt while scoring his touchdown on a 14-yard run as he and Als cornerback Geoff Tisdale collided. With his arm hanging low, Lulay left the game.
“It’s general [soreness] right now, and I have stiffness, so that’s what we’re going to look at,” said Lulay, adding he and doctors will see how the shoulder responds over the next couple of days.
The Alouettes, who were held scoreless in the first half and trailed throughout, fell to 4-7. Montreal suffered its 13th loss in its last 14 visits to Vancouver after failing to generate a resemblence of the vicious pass rush that it displayed at home against B.C. in August.
The Lions also adapted after Hamilton had followed Montreal’s cue and bombarded Lulay.
“I thought we had some good answers, and we executed some things early in the football game,” said Lulay. “It wasn’t perfect [offensively], but the defence really set the tone. They gave us some opportunities to score.”
Lulay completed 19-of-28 passes for 197 yards while also tossing three interceptions. He was credited with just one completion for minus-one yard in the second half after completing 18-of-22 passes for 198 yards in the first half.
But the outcome was never really in doubt after B.C. built a 15-0 half-time lead.
“I’m proud of my team, because we answered the bell,” said Lions coach Mike Benevides. “We haven’t lost any games back to back. What we have to do now is get back and win a couple back-to-back games. We’ll build on this one and move on.”
Shawn Gore caught Lulay’s touchdown pass while Andrew Harris scored on a one-yard run. Marco Iannuzzi caught a TD pass from B.C. backup quarterback Thomas DeMarco late in the game. It was the first scoring strike of DeMarco’s two-year CFL career.
B.C.’s other points came on a conceded safety and Paul McCallum’s two field goals and four converts. Two of B.C.’s touchdowns were set up by interceptions from Adam Bighill and Dante Marsh, who actually took a Neiswander pass into the end zone in the fourth quarter, but had the touchdown nullified by a penalty on the return as defensive lineman Eric Taylor was called for an illegal block.
“We made plays when we were supposed to make plays, and people were flying around,” said Marsh. “All in all, I think we played better on offence, defence and special teams,” said Marsh. “I think we’re starting to build, and the real tell-tale is going to be how we go on the road next weekend [against Saskatchewan] and perform.”
Two plays after Marsh’s interception, and one after he was sacked, Lulay ran in for his TD, staking the Lions to a comfortable 29-7 lead and avoiding a repeat of previous late nail-biters against Montreal and others.
“It felt really good to finish this game well,” said Lulay.
Montreal’s points came on 14-yard and 35-yard touchdown catches, respectively, by S.J. Green and Brandon London. Both TD passes were thrown by Josh Neiswander, the third Alouettes quarterback used in the game.
Neiswander, who threw two interceptions while completing 14-of-23 passes for 153 yards, summed up his club’s effort as “not very good.”
“Offensively, there’s a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, and it always starts with the quarterback,” said Neiswander. “It starts with me making better decisions and not turning the ball over.”
Starting quarterback Tanner Marsh, who was the hero in the previous meeting between the teams, also struggled, completing 9-of-17 passes for 76 yards. Marsh hurt his hand, but said he was pulled because he was not playing well.
Marsh’s game action sandwiched a brief appearance by Troy Smith, who won the 2006 Heisman Trophy. Smith did little on only two running plays before B.C. got the ball again.
After Green’s touchdown finally put the Als on the scoreboard in the third quarter, Bighill’s 44-yard interception enabled the Lions to go up 22-7 on a one-yard Harris TD run. Former Lion Jerome Messam’s penalty for a horse-collar tackle on Bighill gave B.C. a first-and-goal situation.
Harris finished with 68 yards on 13 carries after only getting 10 yards against Hamilton. He said the Lions responded well after an unusual week.
Disappointed with a lack of urgency displayed against Hamilton, general manager Wally Buono chastised his players publicly and acquired quarterback Buck Pierce, via trade from Winnipeg, and free-agent defensive lineman Chris Wilson, who played Sunday, launching a second stint with B.C. after a few seasons in the NFL. Teammates Korey Banks and Khreem Smith also scrapped in practice during the week.
“This week in practice, there was a lot more intensity, and there definitely was a lot more energy,” said Harris. “So, for us, we definitely rose to the occasion.”
Notes: Wilson took the roster spot belonging to middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian, who missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. ... CFL commissioner Mark Cohon attended the game as part of a tour of CFL cities that he has been on lately. He said discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement with players will begin next spring. The current one is due to expire the day before training camps open. Cohon again faced questions about the CFL’s handling of concussions in wake of the NFL’s $765-million settlement of a lawsuit with former players. Although contending protocols have long been in place, he said player safety remains an ongoing agenda item at CFL board of governors meetings. ... Legendary Lions receiver Willie Fleming and former radio play-by-play broadcaster J. Paul McConnell were among former B.C. greats honoured at halftime for their induction into the B.C. Football Hall of Fame. McConnell now lives in France and made the trip from Europe for the occasion.