VANCOUVER — Quarterback Cody Fajardo threw for 224 yards and the Saskatchewan Roughriders downed the B.C. Lions 27-19 on Friday night in Vancouver.
Fajardo completed 21-of-27 attempts for the Riders (11-5), including one touchdown.
One of his frequent targets was wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt, who hauled in seven catches for 106 yards.
Saskatchewan running back William Powell rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Quarterback Danny O’Brien got his first CFL start and threw for 171 yards and a touchdown for the Lions (5-12), completing 16-of-24 passes.
He was temporarily replaced by Grant Kaemer in the third quarter. The rookie made good on 1-of-3 attempts and put up 18 passing yards in his league debut.
The night started as a defensive battle between the two sides, with neither team registering points until Sergio Castillo made a 50-yard field goal for the Lions 13:44 into the first quarter.
It was one of four successful attempts for the B.C. kicker on Friday.
Saskatchewan’s Brett Lauther replied with a 52-yard boot through the uprights early in the second frame. He had three other field goals before the end of the game.
B.C.’s first chance for a touchdown came 9:37 into the second quarter when Bryan Burnham made an eye-popping one-armed catch at the goal line. Officials on the field called the play out of bounds but Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks used his challenge.
Replays on the big screen appeared to show the receiver getting one foot inside the playing field, but a review upheld the call on the field.
The Lions settled for a 30-yard field goal.
Saskatchewan finally muscled its way into the red zone near the end of the second quarter, setting up on the 10-yard line.
Fajardo found Marcus Thigpen in deep for a second-and-goal, and Powell smuggled the ball across the goal line on the next play.
The Riders got another opportunity minutes later after O’Brien was sacked mid-field and, after a scramble, Saskatchewan’s Makana Henry wound up with the ball.
Efforts for a touchdown were stymied by B.C.’s defence, however, and the Riders made do with a 16-yard field goal that gave the visitors a 12-9 lead heading into the half.
Saskatchewan returned from the locker room with energy as Loucheiz Purifoy ran a kickoff return 100 yards into the end zone. A holding call on his teammate Seun Idowu negated the touchdown.
The Riders continued grinding their way down the field and ended a nine-play, 85-yard drive with Fajardo sending a bullet to Kyran Moore in the end zone.
Midway through the third, the Lions opted to swap O’Brien for Kraemer at quarterback. He was sacked by Riders linebacker Solomon Elimmian on his first play of the game.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Kraemer had to be helped off the field, but the 23-year-old alumnus of Drake University returned to play minutes later.
O’Brien took over as the Lions quarterback once again late in the fourth quarter.
Don’t go away! 1:32 left 🔥🔥
🦁 19 | 🍉 27 pic.twitter.com/aYqjfinlnT
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) October 19, 2019
With just over a minute and a half left on the game clock, he found Burnham just outside of the end zone and connected for a 30-yard pass.
Smothered by a pair of Lions defenders, the receiver tossed and twisted his way over the goal line for B.C.’s lone touchdown of the game.
Burnham has now passed for 1,401 yards this season, marking a new career high.
The Roughriders will be back in action on Oct. 26 when they visit the Edmonton Eskimos. The Lions have a bye next week before wrapping their season with a home battle against the Calgary Stampeders on Nov. 2.
NOTES: Saskatchewan’s Dan Clark was injured midway through the second quarter. The veteran offensive lineman lay on the field for several minutes being looked at by trainers before walking off on his own. Clark did not return to the game. … Friday marked the first game Lions quarterback Mike Reilly has missed this season. The league’s passing leader fractured his wrist early in last week’s loss to the Edmonton Eskimos and will be out for the rest of the season.
THE CANADIAN PRESS