Lions 46, Elks 14: Running out of superlatives for the superhuman Nathan Rourke


It was another record-setting night for the Canadian quarterback in another blowout win over the Edmonton Elks.

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Hyperbole is impossible. Ditto exaggeration.

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Nathan Rourke is That Guy.

The BC Lions quarterback put up 430 yards and five touchdowns. He missed three passes out of 37, making 23 straight until coming out late in the fourth quarter.

And, once again, the Leos pounded the Edmonton Elks in their third straight visit to BC Place, 46-14.

Rourke took over the CFL passing lead from Zach Collaros, now with 2,418 yards and 21 touchdowns — and in two fewer games. He also rushed for another.

His 80.8 completion percentage is on pace to beat the league record set by Ricky Ray (77.2 per cent, 2013) and Dave Dickenson’s team record (74 per cent).

He is averaging 345 yards per game, on pace for 6,217 yards — the third-best season all-time behind Doug Flutie (6,619, 1991) and Kent Austin (6,225, 1992).

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Rourke broke his own record for passing yards by a Canadian quarterback, his 436-yard, four-touchdown game in a win over Toronto.


NEXT GAME

Saturday

BC Lions vs. Calgary Stampeders

7 p.m., McMahon Stadium. TV: TSN. Radio: AM 730.


The Lions are now 6-1 and second in the West Division behind the 9-0 Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Elks are now 2-6 and have an 0-13 streak going against divisional opponents.

Here’s what we learned…

Edmonton Elks' Kenny Lawler, left, fumbles the ball on a kick return and turns it over as BC Lions' Delvin Breaux Sr.  tackles him during the first half of the CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Aug.  6, 2022.
Edmonton Elks’ Kenny Lawler, left, fumbles the ball on a kick return and turns it over as BC Lions’ Delvin Breaux Sr. tackles him during the first half of the CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. Photo by DARRYL DYCK /THE CANADIAN PRESS

DON’T FORGET THE D

Lost in the glare of the Rourke spotlight was another dominance by the defense, though, admittedly, against a very bad Elks team.

BC sacked Taylor Cornelius five times and held him to 183 yards and an interception on 15-of-26 passing.

From the start of the first to the 6:16 mark of the third quarter, the Elks had 25 yards of offense and -2 points.

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Their net total was just 194 yards.

Mathieu Betts, who had two sacks as a rookie with Edmonton in 2019, had two on Saturday, pushing his season total to five. Sione Teuhema had two as well, his second multi-sack game of the year.

Former UBC linebacker Ben Hladik, pressed into service after an injury to Bo Lokombo, had his first career interception.

BC Lions' Dominique Rhymes, back, makes a touchdown reception in the end zone as Edmonton Elks' Raphael Leonard defends during the first half of CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Aug.  6, 2022.
BC Lions’ Dominique Rhymes, back, makes a touchdown reception in the end zone as Edmonton Elks’ Raphael Leonard defends during the first half of CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. Photo by DARRYL DYCK THE CANADIAN PRESS /THE CANADIAN PRESS

ORANGE ALERT

The year before he arrived in BC, the Lions had a bold advertising campaign: “Nothing Rhymes With Orange.”

But Dominque Rhymes was pure poetry in motion on Saturday night. He had three touchdowns in the first half, along with 81 yards, on his way to a 91-yard night.

But he had company in the big-stat list, with Lucky Whitehead (148 yards, 69-yard TD catch) going for 127 in the first half alone, while Bryan Burnham — in his first game back from a four-game injury absence — had 82 yards and a toe-tapping touchdown to move past Swervin’ Mervyn Fernandez into fourth place on the Lions all-time receiving list.

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As a team, the Lions had 525 yards in net offense, with a little help coming from running back James Butler III, who ran for 37 yards on 15 carries.

BC Lions' Jevon Cottoy (86) is tackled by Edmonton Elks' Treston Decoud after making the reception during the first half of CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Aug.  6, 2022.
BC Lions’ Jevon Cottoy (86) is tackled by Edmonton Elks’ Treston Decoud after making the reception during the first half of CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. Photo by DARRYL DYCK THE CANADIAN PRESS /THE CANADIAN PRESS

NO, YOU TAKE IT

The Elks tried their best to give the game away to the Lions. They happily accepted.

The game started with the Lions going two and out, including a 12-yard sack on Rourke — but former Lion Duron Carter fumbled the kick, and the Lions recovered.

But they couldn’t do much with it, and two plays and three yards later, wound up trying an ill-advised fake field goal that resulted in a turnover on downs. But on their first offensive play, Kenny Lawler coughed up the ball and the Lions took over — again — on the Edmonton 51.

This time, the Lions went six plays and 51 yards — including a Rourke sneak for a yard inside three yards — with Dominque Rhymes capping the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass. The game was briefly tied at 7-7 after the next series, but it was the Rourke Show the rest of the game.

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LEAGUE OF LEGENDS

Two legends came home to stay at BC Place on Saturday.

Two more visited from out of town.

While the Edmonton Elks had the top two receivers in Lions history on their side — Geroy Simon, 904 receptions; Manny Arceneaux, 556 — the night was for kicker Paul McCallum and offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye, who were enshrined in the team’s Wall of Fame.

McCallum, a two-time CFL All-Star and five-time divisional all-star, retired as the Lions’ all-time leader in field goal percentage (85.9) and second to Lui Passaglia in total points (1,506), punting yards ( 37,912) and kickoff yards (28,700).

“Being added to the Wall of Fame with my former teammate and alongside all of the best to have ever played for this franchise is an amazing honor and something I will look back on with pride,” McCallum said.

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“I was grateful for everything that football has given me, I was able to play in front of all my friends, family and the people that helped me along the way. I am very lucky and will cherish this moment forever.”

Olafioye, aka “Sugar Bear,” never missed a start with the Lions, suiting up in all 18 regular season contests from 2010-16 and then again in 2018. He won the 2011 Gray Cup with the Lions, and was the 2020 CFL Most Outstanding Lineman. He was also named to the West Division all-star team from 2010-16 and was a CFL all-star in all but one as well.

“This is an extremely humbling moment for me,” Olafioye said. “I was proud to represent the Lions both on the field and in the community and will forever be grateful to Wally Buono for giving me the chance to carve out a great career with a great and classy organization. I salute the great Dan Dorazio for helping mold me into the player I became, as well as all my teammates and coaches I had for all of those years. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

jadams@postmedia.com

twitter.com/TheRealJJAdams


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