BC Lions next game: 5 things to watch against the Ottawa Redblacks

The BC Lions are undefeated to start the season as the Ottawa Redblacks look for their first win

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BC Lions (2-0) at Ottawa Redblacks (0-2)

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When: Thursday, 7:30 PM at TD Place in Ottawa
TV: TSN | Radio: AM730
The line: Lions with 2 1/2″
Weather: 22C, clear sky, wind 13 km/h S

Five things to watch

1. Jeremiah’s Air Show: Redblacks QB Jeremiah Masoli, who has thrown 711 yards to date, will attempt to extend his passes from over 300 yards through all three games of 2022. He has accomplished 300 yards in six of his past eight starts, going back to 2021 with Hamilton. Masoli is number 47 all time with 16,266 yards, 183 behind Jeff Garcia.

2. Back to Ottawa: There are six former Redblacks on the Lions roster: LS Tanner Doll, LB Kevin Francis, WR Daniel Petermann, WR Jacob Scarfone, WR Dominique Rhymes and DB Loucheiz Purifoy. There are two other players who grew up in the Ottawa area: Backup QB Michael O’Connor and DB Jamie Harry. Purifoy, who played in Ottawa in 2018, was a surprise midway through that season. Rhymes, a 2017-19 Redblack, had 1,056 yards in catches in his final season in Ottawa. Last week, he had 143 yards — his eighth game over 100 yards in his career.

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3. The Butler Did It: Running back James Butler has got off to a flying start – with 147 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He also caught two touchdown passes. Lions head coach Rick Campbell: “(Butler) is in year 2, we invested time in him as a rookie last year and we believe he is getting better.”

4. The Return of WIPO: William Powell’s last regular season game as an Ottawa Redblack was on November 25, 2018; he carried the ball 16 times for 94 yards while his team fell 27-16 for the Calgary Stampeders in the Gray Cup. The 34-year-old running back, who has made Ottawa his home for the off-season in recent years, is back after two seasons in Saskatchewan. On Thursday he returns from an Achilles tendon injury and will start in the backfield of the Red Blacks

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5. The Red Out: The Redblacks get into the Canada Day vote a day early, wearing their red jerseys against the Lions. Fans are also encouraged to wear red to get in the mood. There will be a fireworks show after the game. Oh, and did we mention the $5 pre-game beer at the Corona Bar near Gate 1?

KEY MATCHUP

BC Lions QB Nathan Rourke vs. Redblacks MLB Avery Williams

Williams is the leader of the Ottawa defense, who will be challenged by Rourke, who has a score of 87.8% in two games. Rourke’s 39 completions last week is the seventh highest total recorded by a QB. His 436 yards set an all-time record for a Canadian QB. Rourke’s seven TD passes are just one of the CFL record set by a number of players, including Anthony Calvillo, Ron Lancaster and Peter Liske. With Rourke in the game, BC has driven 12 times for a TD in 23 possession and last week the Lions didn’t have a two-and-out with Rourke in it.

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COMMENTS

Ottawa receiver Darvin Adams enters the game with a 24-game catch streak. He passed the 5,000 yard mark in the last game (5,063)… With 103 points, the Lions have tied the most points of any club in CFL history in two games. (Toronto opened 1992 with 42, then 61 points)… The Redblacks haven’t done so well with farewell weeks in recent years. They won a bye in their final game of 2021 after going seven in a row without winning… The Lions have won their last two games by a margin of over 40 points (plus 44, plus 41). The last team to win consecutive games by more than 40 games was Hamilton in 1999 (plus 46, plus 46)… No team has ever won by 40 or more three consecutive games… Redblacks receiver Jaelon Acklin leads the CFL in the receiving yards per game with 110 (143 and 77 yards). He caught 13 of the 16 targets.

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OUR TAKE: Redblacks 24, Lions 20

I’m going to take a leap of faith. My original intention was to go with BC. At the risk of being labeled a ‘homer’, I take the ones at home rested and leaving for a week goodbye. I can’t ignore what the Lions have done, easily beat Edmonton and Toronto. But they are traveling across the country after playing a very physical game five days ago. And they are missing their top receiver – Bryan Burnham.

STAT PACK

Ottawa
Points for 14.5 (8)
Points against 19.0 (3)
Pass yards 356 (2)
Yards rushing 78 (6)
Net violation 413 (2)
Net offense against 307 (3)

BC
Points for 51.5 (1)
Points against 9.0 (1)
Pass yards 359 (1)
rushing yards 167 (1)
Net violation 519 (1)
Net offense against 246 (1)

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