The high-flying BC Lions look to remain undefeated against the rested Ottawa Redblacks

Nathan Rourke made headlines early this CFL season — and not just because he’s a rare Canadian quarterback.

The 24-year-old from Victoria, BC, led the BC Lions (2-0) to two one-sided wins to open the season and set a league record in the process last week. Rourke threw for 436 yards and set a new single-game record when he passed yards from a Canadian QB as the Lions defeated the Toronto Argonauts 44-3.

BC have scored 103 points that year, the most points scored by a CFL club in the first two games of a season (Toronto, 1992).

While much attention was focused on Rourke, the Lions’ defense was also solid, giving up just 18 points, including a lone touchdown.

BC will need to get back together in both attack and defense on Thursday when they take on the rested Redblacks in Ottawa.

Ottawa (0-2) walks away with a bye after dropping a 19-12 decision against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Week 2.

Redblacks QB Jeremiah Masoli is attempting a third straight game with more than 300 passing yards. He has hit the mark in six of his last eight starts, dating back to his time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year.

Ottawa will add a strong piece to the lineup this week with running back William Powell making his season debut. The 34-year-old Kansas State player missed the first two games with an Achilles tendon injury but was a full participant in practice Monday.

The Lions, meanwhile, are without star receiver Bryan Burnham, who has been placed on the six-game injury list after breaking a rib in Saturday’s win. He will be replaced in the lineup by Josh Pearson, a 25-year-old American who played for the 2020 Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Choice: BC

BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke (12) and Sukh Chungh (65) celebrate after Rourke ran the ball for a touchdown in the first half of the CFL soccer game against the Edmonton Elks June 11, 2022 in Vancouver.

Edmonton Elks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Friday night)

It’s been a tough start to the season for both the Elks (0-3) and Tiger-Cats (0-3). Hamilton’s Dane Evans leads the league in passing yards (884) but completed just 25 of 42 attempts in the Ticats’ 26-12 loss to the Blue Bombers last week. Edmonton appeared to be heading in the right direction on Saturday, jumping out on the Stampeders by a 10-point lead before Calgary climbed back for a 30-23 win. Elk’s QB Nick Arbuckle threw for 226 yards with one touchdown and one interception on his return to Calgary, the city where he began his CFL career.

Choice: Edmonton

Montreal Alouettes at Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday Night)

The Roughriders (2-1) will seek revenge in the back half of this home-and-home series. Last week, Montreal’s Trevor Harris started in place of Vernon Adams Jr. – who tested positive for COVID-19 – and threw for 262 yards and a TD, leading the Als to a 37-13 win. Montreal (1-2) limited Saskatchewan’s offense with eight sacks, three interceptions and five pass knockdowns. Riders QB Cody Fajardo will want to recover after connecting for 191 yards on 17 of 28 attempts in Week 3.

Choice: Saskatchewan

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Toronto Argonauts (Monday Night)

Reigning Gray Cup champions Blue Bombers (3-0) are unbeaten at the start of the season after clinching a 26-12 win over the Ticats on Friday. Winnipeg defenseman Willie Jefferson had a dominant showing with three tackles, a sack and a pick six — a feat that earned him a nod as CFL’s top performer of the week. The Argos (1-1), meanwhile, are looking to recover from the ugly 44-3 defeat they suffered at BC Toronto. Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie described his team’s performance as “embarrassing”.

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Choice: Winnipeg

Last week: 3-1

Overall record: 11-1

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 29, 2022.

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