Travis Lulay wanted to put on a show — and he did.
The B.C. quarterback threw four touchdown passes as the B.C. Lions thumped the Montreal Alouettes 43-10 in CFL action Saturday.
The Lions (7-3) retained sole possession of first place in the West Division while avenging a 30-25 loss to the Als in Montreal eight days earlier.
Lions veteran slotback Geroy Simon sits out first game in four years
Geroy Simon was surprised and angry about being on the sidelines for the first time in four years during Saturday's B.C. Lions victory over the Montreal Alouettes.
The 36-year-old B.C. Lions slotback thought he would be in the lineup, despite a hamstring injury he suffered eight days earlier in Montreal, but coach Mike Benevides had other ideas.
"I could have played, but it was something where we didn't want to take the chance of re-injuring it, so they made the decision for me," Simon said.
"I was angry because I wanted to play and I was ready to go."
Benevides said it was hard to tell Simon that he would be getting some extra rest.
"It was something he didn't want to hear, but this is about the long haul," Benevides said. "He'll be fresh and ready to go next week. And he brought something to the sideline too. He sees things, he understands things and he helped the young guys."
Simon last missed a game in 2008, when he sat out two in a row. Saturday's contest was only the fourth game he has missed since 2002.
Simon has caught 35 passes for 467 yards this year. He needs one more regular-season touchdown for 100 in his career.
Simon says he will "definitely" be in the line-up next Saturday when B.C. hosts Toronto.
— The Canadian Press
"Any time you get a chance to play a team a second time in a row, you want to make amends for that first one," said Lulay. "Today, we did a good job of that."
With the loss, the Als (6-4) found themselves in a share for first place in the East with Toronto after the Argos beat Hamilton 45-31 earlier in the day.
Lulay completed 23 of 31 pass attempts for 262 yards as the Lions posted their fifth win in six games. His four TDs, which matched a career high set 2011, came in part from the pressure he felt facing legendary Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo and his talented offence.
"You know you've got to put points on the board," said Lulay. "For us to be able to do that early in the game — we had 20 points going into half-time — that's absolutely huge."
Shawn Gore, Marco Iannuzzi, Nick Moore and Ernest Jackson recorded touchdown receptions for B.C., which was missing Geroy Simon. The veteran slotback missed his first game in four years with a hamstring injury suffered in the previous meeting between the teams in Montreal.
Moore, who has spent most of this season on the practice roster after doing the same in 2011, scored his touchdown while playing in place of Simon.
Iannuzzi, a backup at Simon's slotback position, praised Lulay for helping his young receivers prepare for the game.
"(Lulay) is our MVP, man — MOP, guess," said Iannuzzi, a 25-year-old Harvard grad from Calgary who is in his second season with the Lions. "He'll help you out and tell you the nuances in the routes, and we really got on the same page today."
Iannuzzi's five-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter staked B.C. to a 20-10 half-time lead and erased any further doubt.
Andrew Harris added another B.C. touchdown on a one-yard run in the final two minutes on a hand-off from backup quarterback Mike Reilly, who saw his first sustained regular-season action as a Lion after replacing a resting Lulay in the fourth quarter.
Paul McCallum added two field goals, from 43 and 30 yards. The first field goal was the 600th of McCallum's career.
"You can't say enough about (our) offence," said Lions coach Mike Benevides. "The protection from the offensive line, the backs, young receivers making big plays — they did an outstanding job.
"And to keep one of the best quarterbacks that's ever played the game (Calvillo) down the way our defence did, overall our team did a very nice job."
The Lions racked up 452 yards on offence while limiting the Alouettes to just 201 net yards.
Jamel Richardson scored the Alouettes' lone touchdown — on their first series from scrimmage — while Sean Whyte provided their remaining points on a field goal.
Both teams scored on their first two possessions, but then B.C. took over. Calvillo stood out early, but his teammates hurt him with some untimely penalties, and Montreal's defence struggled all afternoon against both the B.C. pass and run.
"We started off great, but then it was just two and out way too many times," said Calvillo, who completed 16 of 26 pass attempts for a modest 152 yards.
Paul McCallum helped prevent a Montreal touchdown late in the second quarter as he knocked Chip Cox out of bounds following a kickoff. … Montreal played without defensive back Billy Parker, who prevented a last-minute B.C. touchdown in the teams' first encounter. Parker injured his hamstring in practice on Thursday.
B.C. won for the 11th time in the past 12 West Coast meetings between the teams. Montreal had hoped the first afternoon game between the clubs since the Western and Eastern teams began interlocking play in 1961 would make a difference — but it didn't.
Calvillo said it was "very disappointing" to see the Als play the way they did while anxious for a better result in Vancouver.
"I've run out of excuses — I really have," said Calvillo. "Whether we play here in the afternoon or whether we stayed out here for a short week because we had stayed out West, it's just been a difficult place to win, and on top of that B.C.'s always been good, too. It's not like they're just this average team."
The Als held an early 7-3 lead and forged a 10-10 tie after Whyte's lone field goal that came after he deliberately missed an earlier three-point attempt, kicking the ball sideways to Kyries Hebert. The 10-yard boot was officially scored as a missed field goal and onside kick.
However, the Als would not come close to scoring again.
"After that first drive, the defence was absolutely nails, and on offence we were able to play more consistent football today," said Lulay.
McCallum's second field goal put B.C. ahead 13-10 in the second quarter. Iannuzzi's insurance touchdown, on a five-yard scoring play, came one play after Moore set it up with a catch and nailed by Dwight Anderson. Moore immediately went to the sideline holding his left arm, but returned later to produce his first touchdown on another five-yard reception on which he leaped over two defenders.
Moore, a 26-year-old Westerville, Ohio native, in his third season with the Lions, was happy to score while replacing Simon.
"My role right now is just to be ready at all times," said Moore. "It just felt good to go out there and be able to have some success."