Andrew Harris gave British Columbia exactly what it needed on Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium. A boost of confidence and the Lions first win in 2014. Of course they beat both Albertan clubs back in June, but those were friendlies. This one meant something.
In all, Harris managed 203 yards and scored a touchdown to raise the spirits of the Leos listless offence, which had managed 29 points between their last two outings, a 24-9 loss in Montreal, and a 27-20 loss to Edmonton in the Lions home opener.
"I think the confidence is building with our offensive line… and we were embarrassed last week, and so we really came back with a vengeance tonight," said Harris. "We have to build off of this now and take this confidence and go forward with it."
Racking up 145 total yards in the first half, which included 94 yards along the ground, the 27-year old Winnipeg native had a 58-yard run in the first quarter to give the Lions an early 11-0 advantage. He finished the night with 132 yards rushing, and 65 receiving, leading his team in both categories.
"This was a character win more than anything," Harris added,
British Columbia's Quarterback Kevin Glenn, who had began his career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, managed a turnover-free effort after having thrown six interceptions in his first two games. Glenn's 20-yard touchdown, midway through the fourth quarter, gave the Lions a 26-13 lead, which they held until the final whistle. Many of the 32,864 did not stay to hear it.
"It's hard to come in here and get a win," Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian said. "They had a great crowd here and that's the kind of crowd you want to play in front of. It's just a you against the world kind of feeling and it makes you depend even more on that guy next to you, trust in your teammates even more."
Glenn's counterpart, Darian Durant, struggled through much of the night, completing just 15 out of 34 passing attempts, totalling a mere 191 yards.
"We were 0-2 and no one gave us a shot to win this game," Elimimian added. "We knew a lot of times what they were trying to do. The biggest thing with Durant is containing him… he's the main cog in that offence and we got some hits on him tonight and that slowed him down."
The Riders did hold a brief 13-11 lead late in the second quarter after Durant found Taj Smith for a five-yard touchdown, but Hugh Charles fumbled the ball on Saskatchewan's next possession, leading to a 41-yard Paul McCallum field goal, which restored the Lions advantage. They would not let Saskatchewan score another point after that.
"I'm disappointed," Durant said after the game. "I thought we would come out and put on a better performance than what we did. But you have to give BC a lot of credit. They came in here and took it to us."