B.C. Lions’ Joel Figueroa (61), Shaq Johnson (88), Emmanuel Arceneaux (84) and Bryan Burnham (16) celebrate Johnson’s touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday June 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

QB Jennings leads Lions to 22-10 win over Alouettes

B.C. wins CFL home opener over Montreal

VANCOUVER — Jonathon Jennings completed 20-of-24 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns as the B.C. Lions beat the Montreal Alouettes 22-10 in the 2018 season opener for both teams Saturday night.

Jennings also rushed for 57 yards as the Lions won their season opener for only the second time in the past six years. The Als lost after winning their past two season openers.

Ty Long’s 27-yard field goal with 2:44 left in the third quarter, which gave the Lions a 12-10 lead, ultimately decided the outcome.

B.C. got its touchdowns from Shaquille Johnson and Cory Watson, while Long provided the other points on two field goals, two punt singles and two converts.

Als quarterback Drew Willy completed 22-of-32 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown. Eugene Lewis scored Montreal’s lone major as he fell on a loose ball in the B.C. end zone following a Chris Williams reception, but Willy was still credited with a touchdown pass on the play. Meanwhile, Boris Bede kicked a field goal and a convert.

Both teams entered the game looking to make good on sub-par 2017 seasons. The Lions missed the playoffs for the first time in two decades while going 7-11, and the Alouettes were a dismal 3-15.

READ MORE: Lions’ rebuilding plan to be put to the test

Willy overcame some early adversity to stake the Alouettes to a 7-0 lead on an unusual 67-yard scoring play during their first drive, seven and a half minutes into the game. He threw 56 yards to former Lion Williams, who lost control of the ball near the goal line before Lewis plopped on it in the end zone for a touchdown.

The TD came a few plays after Willy’s would-be 52-yard scoring pass to B.J. Cunningham was nullified by a holding penalty on Phillip Blake.

The Lions rebounded on their next drive as Jennings threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Johnson. But the Als went ahead 10-7 in the final minute of the opening quarter on a 30-yard Bede field goal.

Both quarterbacks were perfect on their passes in the first quarter. Jennings, who threw a league-high 19 interceptions compared to just 16 touchdowns last season, went 7 for 7. Willy, who is looking to revive his career with his fourth CFL club, completed all three of his passes.

Long accounted for all of the second-half scoring as he booted punt singles of 50 and 54 yards, leaving the Als with a precarious 10-9 half-time lead.

Long’s decisive field goal was aided by a Jennings QB sneak on third down from the Montreal 24-yard line and a roughing-the-passer penalty on Montreal’s Jamal Westerman. Long extended the Lions lead to 15-10 on a 30-yard field goal 1:42 into the fourth quarter.

B.C. cemented the win on Jennings’ 11-yard touchdown strike to Watson at 8:27 of the final period.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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