Sports: Bryan Burnham returns as B.C. Lions take on struggling Edmonton Elks

B.C. Lions survive scare, claw out 17-12 victory over Hamilton Tiger-Cats

  B.C. Lions survive scare, claw out 17-12 victory over Hamilton Tiger-Cats VANCOUVER — Head coach Rick Campbell admits standing on the B.C. Lions' sideline was nerve wracking Thursday night. With just minutes left on the game clock, his side held a five-point lead, but the Hamilton Tiger-Cats repeatedly battled their way into scoring position. Holding on for the 17-12 victory was big for the Lions (4-1), Campbell said. “I think we're in a growth mode as a football team. You find ways to win these different styles of games, different types of games," he said. "It's definitely more productive to get better while you're winning than while you're losing.” B.C.'s defence was key to the win.

VANCOUVER — Few would have faulted Bryan Burnham for taking some time away from the B.C. Lions this season.

  Bryan Burnham returns as B.C. Lions take on struggling Edmonton Elks © Provided by The Canadian Press

The star receiver couldn't be on the field anyway after a jarring hit from Toronto Argonauts defensive back Shaq Richardson on June 25 left him with fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.

But after Burnham spent a week in a Vancouver hospital recovering, he returned to help his teammates.

“Obviously, I would have loved to go and spend more time with my wife and our foster son, but I made a pledge to these guys," he explained Friday.

"And I know a lot of people do decide to go home when they're on the six game (injured list), but no — I felt like it'd be important for me to stay and continue to be a leader and just help the guys however I could.”

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He spent time at the team's training facility in Surrey, B.C., and was on the sidelines during several games. Last week, he watched as the Lions came from behind to take a 32-17 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Me being a vet and being out there so much, I definitely see what some others don't," Burnham said. "I wasn't out there trying to coach too much because (receivers) coach (Jason) Tucker does a great job of that.

"I was just kind of trying to be a mentor and help the guys out if something went wrong, just to let them know that play’s over or move on to the next and just keep guys up, keep guys motivated, keep guys going. Just being a friend, being a teammate. And it was fun.”

Now healthy, Burnham is set to slot back into the Lions' lineup on Saturday when B.C. (5-1) hosts the Edmonton Elks (2-5).

Alouettes' turn to try and hand Blue Bombers their first loss of the season

  Alouettes' turn to try and hand Blue Bombers their first loss of the season It's now up to Trevor Harris and the Montreal Alouettes to try and accomplish something no other CFL team has so far this season. Montreal (2-5) hosts Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg (8-0) on Thursday to open a home-and-home series. The Bombers remain the CFL's only unbeaten squad. Winnipeg is coming off a 35-28 road win over Calgary on Saturday night. The victory was not only the Bombers' second over the Stampeders this season but their first at McMahon Stadium since November 2017. Winnipeg starter Zach Collaros threw for 270 yards and four TDs touchdowns.

It will be the second meeting of the year between the two squads, coming after the Lions routed the Elks 59-15 to open the season on June 11.

That Week 1 matchup is "irrelevant" heading into Saturday's clash, said B.C.'s head coach Rick Campbell.

“It seems like a long time ago, but also it's a very different looking team from Edmonton," he said. "So we talked about it for about five seconds at the beginning of the week, that that game really doesn't have any bearing on this game.”

Coming off a bye week, the Elks will once again be without Canadian quarterback Tre Ford, who was added to the six-game injured list Friday due to a collarbone injury.

The move gives Edmonton some cost certainty, said Chris Jones, Edmonton's head coach and general manager.

"I'm not gonna put too much in front of him for us to put him at risk," he said. "So we're gonna make sure that he's completely well before we put him back out there."

Rourke reaches new heights as B.C. Lions rout struggling Edmonton Elks 46-14

  Rourke reaches new heights as B.C. Lions rout struggling Edmonton Elks 46-14 VANCOUVER — Just seven games into his first season as a CFL starter, B.C. Lions star Nathan Rourke is already breaking his own records. The 24-year-old quarterback threw for an eye-popping 477 yards on Saturday as his side dismantled the Edmonton Elks 46-14. The Victoria-born Rourke not only topped his own mark for the most passing yards by a Canadian QB in a single game, he did it while completing 34 of 37 attempts with five touchdown passes. For good measure, he added a seven-yard rushing major, too. "He's got the right mindset and demeanour," said Lions head coach Rick Campbell. "He's not a roller-coaster guy, just comes to work every single day.

Taylor Cornelius will get the start for the Elks on Saturday.

Edmonton's coaching staff has the "utmost confidence" in the 26-year-old Oklahoma State product, Jones said.

"He's a good quarterback," the coach said. "He's done a real nice job over the last few weeks. We've just got to protect him, we've got to have a run game, we've got to play good defence. And then the thing he's got to do is he's got to take care of the football."

Cornelius has thrown for 500 yards this season, completing 44 of 73 attempts with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Though he didn't see action in the season opener, the QB said there's "bad blood in the water" as the Elks return to Vancouver.

"I haven't forgotten what they did to us Week 1," he said. "And we're going to try and prove it (to) ourselves this week."

EDMONTON ELKS (2-5) AT B.C. LIONS (5-1)

Friday, B.C. Place

CHA-CHA-CHA-CHANGES: The Elks have seen ample roster rotation this season with 75 players suiting up for at least one game. B.C. has fielded just 52 athletes, below the league average of 59.

THE MANNY SHOW: Edmonton receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux is closing on a major milestone. The 34-year-old Alcorn State product needs just 69 yards to break into the league's top 30 all-time receivers. Arceneaux has amassed 8,774 receiving yards over 147 CFL games dating back to 2009.

POCKET PROTECTORS: B.C.'s offensive line has been solid, allowing just six sacks across six games. The Lions lead the CFL in fewest sacks allowed and are on pace to equal the record-low 18 sacks given up by the 1995 Saskatchewan Roughriders.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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