Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Canada’s Nathan Rourke throws record-setting 436 yards, Lions dominate Argos

VANCOUVER – Nathan Rourke threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns as the BC Lions registered a 44-3 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.

Rourke set a new record for passing yards by a Canadian quarterback, eclipsing the 427-yard mark set by Gerry Datilio in 1981. The 24-year-old native of Victoria, BC, completed 39 of 45 attempts and was dismissed once.

Kicker Sean White scored a pair of field goals, including a 50-yard strike, for the Lions (2-0).

BC’s defense crushed Argos (1-1), holding McLeod Bethel-Thompson for 178 passing yards. The Toronto quarterback made 15 out of 21 attempts, threw an interception and was dismissed twice before turning up late in the fourth quarter.

Chad Kelly came to relief and threw for two yards, completing one of two attempts and was dismissed once.

The Argos’ only point of the night came from a 23-yard field goal from Boris Bede at the start of the second quarter.

The win means BC will start the CFL season with a pair of victories for the first time since 2016.

The Lions were coming off a bye week but showed no rust at the start of Saturday’s game, kicking it off with an eight-game, 68-yard scoring drive.

Rourke scrambled from a crumbling pocket to take down 11 yards and first, then capped the drive with a crisp 19-yard pass to Brian Burnham in the end zone. The veteran wide receiver hooked the crowd twice after matching his first touchdown of the season.

BC’s defensive unit was tested in Toronto’s possession earlier in the night, with Davis Daniels powering through a tackle and Bethel-Thompson finding Dijon Brissett on the Lions’ one-yard line.

The Lions stood strong and denied the visitors attempted to break into the end zone three times. Toronto swung the ball down the aisle.

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An interrogative call kept the Lions occupied later in the first quarter.

Rourke’s seven-yard toss to Lucky Whitehead was ruled incomplete, but was challenged by BC head coach Rick Campbell and the call was reversed, leaving his side first down.

Rourke fired a 46-yard bomb off Dominic Rhimes in the next play, and White capped the drive with a 21-yard field goal to put the Lions up 10-0.

Early in the second quarter, BC cornerback Delvin Breaux downed a long toss to Brandon Banks from Bethel-Thompson, and Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie made his challenge, arguing for defensive pass interference. Upon review, the officials agreed and Toronto were awarded first down on the BC 21-yard line.

Lions defensive lineman David Maynard sacked Bethel-Thompson on the next play, but Argos still managed to score on the drive, with Bede scoring a field goal that reduced Toronto’s deficit to 10–3.

Rourke extended the Lions’ cushion in the middle of the half, finding Rhimes in the end zone with a 19-yard bullet to cap a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive.

White headed to the locker room to BC 20-3 after hitting a 44-yard field goal to close the second quarter.

A barrage of injuries swept through BC’s lineup late in the first half, however, with linebacker Bo Locombo, leaving behind James Butler and wide receiver Brian Burnham, all going into the locker room with game-ending injuries. Were. Whitehead also suffers an ankle injury, but remains in the game.

In the middle of the third frame, Wynton McMannis knocked Rourke down for a seven-yard defeat around center field. However, the Lions remained unmoved and sent White out for a 50-yard field goal attempt. He made a kick to give BC a 23-3 lead.

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Lions looked to get some revenge on the next possession by sacking defensive end Obum Gwacham Bethel-Thompson.

Rourke’s 29-yard toss opened deep in the red zone to Jevon Cottoy in the third quarter to set up BC’s third TD late on the night. Cottoy made some quick moves into the end zone and lengthened his first major of the season.

The final frame saw Rourke join up with Rhimes again, this time with a 24-yard toss. Positioned just outside the end zone, Rhimes completed the touchdown with ease and the Lions took a 37-3 lead.

BC’s Gary Peters escalated Toronto’s woes in the middle of the fourth quarter, removing Bethel-Thompson’s pass.

Lions fullback David Mackie – running back for the injured butler – introduced the ball to the goal line late in the fourth for his first CFL touchdown. A successful conversion from White gave the home team a 44–3 lead.

Kelly came on to close the game for Bethel-Thompson and was quickly dismissed by Maynard.

The Lions will be back in action on Thursday when they tackle the Redblacks in Ottawa. Argos will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on July 4.

Footnote: Mackie took over for Butler when he ran back in the second half. and covered 90 rushing yards. … Argos offensive lineman Jonathan Zamora walked off the field in the middle of the fourth quarter after being injured during a play. … The 100th all-time meeting between the two teams took place on Saturday. BC holds a 60-38-2 lead in the series.

Nation World News Desk
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