CALGARY — Already without Travis Lulay, the quarterback situation for the B.C. Lions went from bad to worse on Friday night.
Late in the second quarter of their 35-23 loss to the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium, quarterback John Beck dropped back to pass and was hit hard by Freddie Bishop III — causing a fumble that Junior Turner returned to the B.C. eight-yard line.
Tory Harrison went on to catch an eight-yard touchdown pass from Bo Levi Mitchell on the next play while Beck went to the B.C. locker room with an injury to his right pectoral muscle. His timeline for a return is currently unknown.
“Obviously any time anybody goes down, you hate to see that,” said B.C. coach Jeff Tedford. “He took a pretty bad shot. It’s football. You hate to see anybody get hurt.”
“I’ll have to get some tests done to find out exactly what it is,” said Beck after the game. “We can speculate right now, but I don’t know.”
Beck completed nine of 16 passes for 82 yards. His replacement Jonathon Jennings went 15 for 27 for 252 yards and three interceptions in his first-ever CFL appearance.
“Obviously everyone in the room has to prep because any player can go down,” said Jennings. “That’s unfortunate. I wish John a fast recovery to get back. You just try to prep as best as you can.”
Beck actually returned to the B.C. sideline in the second half in time to watch Chris Rainey run back a punt 103 yards for a touchdown. After a two-point convert by Andrew Harris, the Lions had clawed their way back into a 21-21 tie with the Stamps.
“About right when I got out there, he ran back another punt,” said Beck of Rainey, who also had a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. “I got to see Jon battle and make some great throws. It’s hard though to see your team battling.
“When you step out on the field for the game, you anticipate that if your team’s battling at the end you’re going to be the guy out there and I was standing in sweats on the sidelines.”
The Lions finished the game with six turnovers, including Jennings’ three picks.
“I thought Jon came in and did an admirable job coming off the bench,” said Tedford. “He’ll be better. A couple balls probably, he wants back. (He was) forcing the ball, trying to make plays.”
Jennings admitted that some of this throws were out of desperation to try and get the Lions back in the game after they fell behind 35-21 by the 8:17 mark of the fourth quarter.
“It was a tough game, but we fought and I think we’re happy about the way we fought,” said Jennings. “Just this being my first time in the game, things were a little bit different, so just adjusting to that on the field type situation is a process.”
Despite the loss, Tedford said the Lions have some positives to build off of heading into their next game on Sept. 26 in Edmonton against the Eskimos.
“I felt like the guys attitude and the effort coming into this game was really good,” he said. “I think we’ll take the positives away from this and build on that and take some of the things we didn’t do well and learn from those as well.”
Laurence Heinen, The Canadian Press