OTTAWA, ON – Ottawa REDBLACKS claimed their second straight win surviving a fourth-quarter scare on Saturday afternoon to beat the BC Lions 31-24 in front of a energized sell-out crowd on gorgeous afternoon at TD Place.
Quarterback Trevor Harris and company staked themselves to a comfortable 28-point lead, but a trio of fourth-quarter BC (5-5) touchdowns made for nervous moments down the stretch. A key interception from Jonathan Newsome in his Ottawa (3-6-1) debut sealed the victory.
Brett Maher opened the scoring for the REDBLACKS midway through the first quarter, when he booted a 41-yard field goal.
The Nebraska product then etched his name in the history books, pushing a 48-yard kick through the uprights; the field goal was his eighth-straight successful attempt, setting a new Ottawa pro-football record for consecutive kicks made.
The REDBLACKS broke into the end zone late in the second quarter, when short-yardage quarterback Ryan Lindley broke the plane for the major. Running back Mossis Madu’s plunging two-point convert attempt was stifled, and the lead sat at 12-0.
A 17-yard chip shot from Maher extended the lead to 15-0.
Late in the first half, BC kicker Ty Long missed a 34-yard field goal; Diontae Spencer ripped off a 91-yard return to take the ball down to the BC 38. Two plays later, a 40-yard Maher field goal sent the REDBLACKS to the locker room up 18-0.
Madu furthered the Ottawa lead four minutes into the third quarter, sprinting into the end zone from the 8-yard line. Maher’s convert made it 25-0.
Following a strong goal-line stand by the REDBLACKS, BC got on the board via a 10-yard field goal by Long.
After driving the length of the field, Harris was picked off in the BC end zone by Loucheiz Purifoy; the defence picked up its quarterback, stopping the ensuing Lions drive inside the BC half.
Six plays later, Harris found Madu in the end zone for the latter’s second touchdown of the day. Maher’s convert was blocked and Ottawa’s lead stood at 31-3.
Early in the fourth quarter, a four-yard Jeremiah Johnson rush touchdown — plus ensuing Ty Long convert — made it 31-10.
On BC’s next drive, Johnson caught a Travis Lulay, who replaced Jennings for the second half, three-yard pass for a touchdown. Long’s convert cut the lead to 31-17.
Harris was then intercepted in his own half, and one play later Lulay connected with Bryan Burnham for a touchdown. Following Long’s convert, the Lions had cut their deficit to 31-24.
Lulay and company got the ball back with 1:45 remaining, but Newsome’s critical interception — facilitated by a Sherrod Baltimore tip — sealed the win.
The REDBLACKS will travel to Montreal next Thursday and, depending on Saturday night’s result between the Argos and Stamps, could be playing for tops in the East.