Despite trailing for practially the entire game, the BC Lions were able to pick up their first win of the season in a 35-32 overtime thriller on Friday Night Football at BC Place.
Manny Areceneux caught the game winning touchdown pass in overtime on a four-yard strike from quarterback Travis Lulay. Lulay was extremley sharp throughout, racking up 404 yards and three touchdowns in the contest.
Perhaps the game's most crucial moment came when short-yardage quarterback Brett Smith was unable to pick up the first-down on third an inches givng the Lions the ball at midfield with less than two minutes to go. Lions kicker Richie Leone put himself in the Lions' record books by drilling a 55-yard game-tying field goal, the longest in BC history.
The comeback also marked the first win for Lions head coach Jeff Tedford on the sideline in the CFL.
Tedford's offence proved to be effective for the Lions receiving core, as Arceneux, Andrew Harris, Shawn Gore and Bryan Burnham all had atleast 60 receiving yards. Harris also bulldozed his way to 70 yards on the ground.Tedford, of course, played quarterback in the CFL for six seasons with Hamilton, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg before becoming the winningest coach in the history of the University of California, collecting two pac-10 coach of the year titles in the process.
The Riders were once again let down by their sluggish defence, but did have some bright spots on offence.
Weston Dressler made up for the absence of slot back Ryan Smith as the five-time 1,000 yard receiver hauled in 122 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his monster day.
Dressler opened the scoring on a 45-yard touchdown pass after he was left wide open on a busted coverage by the Lions.
While Dressler made up for most of the yards through the air, the Riders quietly established a strong power running game with the two-headed-monster of Jerome Messam and Anthony Allen combining for 150 yards in the ground.
The Lions started to make it interesting late with a touchdown reception by Rolly Lumbala, but a 46-yard leaping reception by big play threat Jamel Richardson put the Riders in the redzone before Allen, the former Baltimore Raven, ran in a 10 yard touchdown to what Riders Head Coach Corey Chamblin thought would have sealed it.
Yet, the Lions weren't ready to go away just yet.
Hamilton-native Austin Collie added a touchdown with less than two minutes left to pull BC within Leone's game-tying field goal. Collie, the former favourite target of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, also caught the crucial two-point-conversion.
Next week the 1-1 Lions will have to deal with a hostile environment at Mosaic Stadium in a rematch with the now 0-3 Roughriders in what should be a spirited contest.
Weston Dressler's huge night of 122 receiving yards and two touchdowns wasn't enough for the Riders in BC on Friday night.