Vancouver (CFL.ca) - A pair of rookie running backs helped punch some big holes in the Toronto Argonaut defence as the B.C. Lions erased an early deficit and rolled to a 37-16 CFL victory Saturday afternoon.
Big Jerome Messam demonstrated his power by bullying his way to a pair of touchdowns as the Lions won for the first time this season at Empire Field, in front of 22,703 fans.
Little Yonus Davis showed he has some sure hands to go with his fleet feet. He caught a four-yard pass for a major, then set up another touchdown with a brilliant 10-yard run where several Argos were left grabbing air.
Quarterback Casey Printers also threw a two-yard touchdown to wide-receiver Steve Black. He finished the game completing 25 of 39 passes for 302 yards.
Former ASU QB Cleo Lemon was 20 of 31 for 277 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT in the loss.
Receiver Geroy Simon didn't let the youngsters have all the fun. The veteran slotback celebrated his 35th birthday by making seven catches for 133 yards. He moves into fifth place on the CFL's all-time receiving list.
Paul McCallum added field goals of 43, 35 and 34 yards.
A swarming B.C. defence didn't give the Argos much to work with. Defensive end Jonathan Brown, a former Argo, had three of the Lions' six sacks and made a key goal-line tackle to save a touchdown.
Toronto scored just one point in the second half.
The Lions improved their record to 3-7 and moved into third place in the CFL West, ahead of the 2-8 Edmonton Eskimos. The victory, coming on the heels of last week's win in Montreal, also gives B.C. its first two-game win streak of the season.
A bad day got worse for the Argonauts when running back Corey Boyd, the CFL's rushing leader, left the game in the third quarter after a vicious hit by linebacker Solomon Elimimian. Boyd was helped off the field and looked dazed as he walked near the Argo bench.
Toronto squandered a chance for a touchdown on a bizarre play in the third quarter.
Defensive end Ron Flemons recovered a Printers fumble and ran untouched toward the end zone. He fumbled the ball just as he crossed the goal line and the Lions recovered.
The Argos drop to 5-5 after suffering their third consecutive loss. Toronto hasn't won a game in Vancouver since 2002.
Lemon threw a pair of long touchdown throws to James Robinson, who hauled in scoring passes of 41 and 39 yards.
B.C. erased a 8-0 deficit with 21 points in the second quarter and led 21-15 at half time.
After a slow start the Lions found their stride by taking advantage of a Lemon turnover to score touchdowns 1:28 apart.
Printers showed some of his old magic on the Lions' first touchdown. He stepped out of the pocket to elude tacklers and threw a 32-yard pass to Simon. That drive ended when a scrambling Printers found Davis alone in the end zone.
On the next series Lemon had the ball squirt out of his hand as he prepared to throw. Defensive back Korey Banks pounced on the ball on the Toronto 18. That set up Messam's first touchdown.
Messam demonstrated his versatility on the next Lions possession. He bowled over a couple of Argo defenders on a 16-yard run, then showed his good hands by hauling in a 14-yard pass.
He ended the drive with a four-yard run.
Toronto had a chance to score early in the first quarter on a third-down gamble from the one. The play was blown up when Brown stopped Boyd two yards behind the line of scrimmage, giving B.C. the ball.
The Argo did score a few plays later when Lemon found Robinson wide open in the middle the field. Lion defenders Ryan Phillips and Banks could only watch as Robinson loped into the end zone on the 41-yard play.