CALGARY — BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke threw for 488 yards in a 41-40 comeback over the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.
The 24-year-old from Victoria recovered from two early interceptions, which the Stampeders turned into touchdowns, rushing for a pair of touchdowns from close range and throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the exciting CFL contest.
Completing 39 of 52 passing attempts, Rourke broke his own single-game passing record by a Canadian after the 477 yards he recorded in last week’s win over Edmonton.
“There will come a time in my life when I look back and realize how lucky I was to be able to play with him,” Lions wide receiver Bryan Burnham said. “I’m excited to be a part of this.”
Sean Whyte’s 25-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the game capped the Lions’ comeback.
The Stampeders led by nine points midway through the fourth quarter when Peyton Logan scored on a 99-yard power kick return, but the Lions overcame that deficit.
“It wasn’t pretty by any means, but we found a way to win, but I’m proud of the guys for sticking together and finding a way,” Rourke said. “At this point, I’m just trying to help this team win in any way I can.”
Rourke threw touchdown passes to Burnham and Dominique Rhymes. Whyte also kicked field goals from 19, 38 and 23 yards.
University of Calgary alumnus Jalen Philpot scored his first CFL touchdown, as did defensive lineman Folarin Orimolade on an interception return for Calgary.
Shawn Bane had a touchdown reception and Rene Paredes kicked field goals of 28, 53, 32 and 51 yards against the announced 22,229 at McMahon Stadium.
The Lions (7-1) and Stampeders (5-3) rank second and third respectively in the CFL Western Division behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-1).
Calgary and BC wrap up their season series with a home-and-away match on September 17 in Calgary and September 24 in Vancouver.
Bo Levi Mitchell became the Stampeders’ all-time leader in passing yards with an eight-yard throw on Calgary’s first drive.
He needed just six yards to pass Henry Burris (32,191) and reach that milestone in his 10th season and 116th appearance with Calgary. Burris played 118 games for the Stampeders.
After going two straight games without a touchdown pass, Mitchell threw two on Saturday. The Stampeders quarterback completed 18 of 32 passing attempts for 206 yards and was interception-free, but he wasn’t happy with Calgary’s inability to finish off the Lions.
“Bad penalties, bad calls. Everybody from the wingbacks to the guys on the pitch, they were all terrible,” Mitchell said. “It was a bad second half. You score 40 points, you can’t lose a game.”
Calgary led 40-31 with just over six minutes left after Logan’s kickoff return for a major.
The Lions weren’t going quietly, though, as Burnham’s 33-yard reception under double coverage carried BC to the Calgary 10-yard line with just under three minutes left.
Rourke had his seventh rushing touchdown this season with a 1-yard run to trail BC by just two points.
Calgary opted to punt rather than insert Paredes for a 55-yard field goal attempt with a minute and a half left.
“I get nervous around anyone over 50, especially their returner,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson explained. “We had in mind around 51, 52 max. He hit one because the wind changed.”
“I just felt like we had a good plan. We just didn’t get them to stop.”
The Lions still faced a long field for a game-winning field goal from their own six-yard line, but Cameron Judge’s roughing-the-passer penalty shortened it for the visitors.
Rourke engineered a nine-play, 86-yard drive to put Whyte in field goal range.
The Lions trailed by 12 when BC linebacker Ben Hladik recovered Dedrick Mills’ fumble at the Calgary 34-yard line late in the third quarter.
Rourke brought down Lucky Whitehead in the end zone leaving Whyte with a 23-yard field goal to go.
But Rourke’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Burnham behind coverage with seven minutes left in the game put the Lions within two points of the lead.
Calgary capitalized on a pair of Rourke interceptions to take a 20-3 lead in the first minute of the second quarter, when Orimolade rushed his first career interception 28 yards for a score.
Rourke recovered with a pair of scoring drives, interspersed around a 32-yard drive from Paredes, but the Stampeders scored again before the half.
BC’s David Menard’s roughing-the-passer penalty led Calgary to the Lions 24-yard line, where Mitchell quickly threw Bane running into the end zone for a 30-18 halftime lead.
Paredes was wide from 51 yards in the final minute of the half, but split the posts from the same distance early in the third quarter for Calgary’s 33-18 lead. Whyte was good from 38 yards midway through the quarter to cut the deficit.
Rourke scored his first rushing touchdown of the night with a 1-yard throw in the second quarter.
After Orimolade’s pick-six, Rourke quickly marched the Lions downfield and threw a 30-yard pass to Rhymes in the end zone for a score.
Paredes’ 53-yard field goal, which tied for the longest of his season, gave the hosts a 13-3 lead with four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
After Nick Statz intercepted Rourke on BC’s second drive of the game, Mitchell’s second pass was a 19-yard throw to Philpot in the end zone for a score.
The clubs traded field goals on the opening plays of the first quarter.
#Rourke #shines #lead #Lions #victory #Stampeders