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Nathan Rourke continues to be the story in the early part of the 2022 CFL season.
The Victoria native has stormed onto the scene as a starting quarterback in the league with 1,077 yards passing, nine touchdowns and a 83.8 completion percentage through three games.
On Thursday, he wasn’t the same kind of dominant that he was in the BC Lions first two home games, when they outscored their opponents 103-18 in two games, but he was good enough.
The Lions overcame Rourke’s first two interceptions of the season and a fourth-quarter fumble by Rourke to beat the Ottawa REDBLACKS 34-31 in the nation’s capital.
BC is now 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2007.
Once again, the Lions started hot and it looked like it could be another blowout, as Rourke ran for a 50-yard touchdown to give BC the 7-0 lead after one quarter.
After the REDBLACKS got a field goal, Rourke marched his team down the field before finding James Butler for a three-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 14-3.
Another field goal from Ottawa made it 14-6 heading into half, but the third quarter brought Rourke and his teammates their first test of adversity on the young season.
An unfortunate pick from the BC QB led to Ottawa’s first touchdown of the game, which tied it up with a two-point conversion, then Rourke threw a bad interception that was nearly returned for a touchdown.
Jeremiah Masoli ended up converting the turnover into a quarterback sneak touchdown to give the REDBLACKS their first lead of the game at 20-14.
"I think we showed tonight that this is a really good team and I just happen to play on it.”— BC LIONS (@BCLions) July 1, 2022
Game Takes from @BakesTakes84 after gutsy win in Ottawa.
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But the young Lions signal caller bounced right back with a 71-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher and Butler would add his second touchdown of the game on the next drive.
In the fourth quarter, the two teams exchanged field goals before Rourke’s aforementioned fumble, which gave the REDBLACKS a chance to come back and tie things up.
However, the Lions defence stood strong and got the stops they needed, before Sean Whyte made it a two-score game late with another field goal.
Ottawa would add a late touchdown in garbage time to pull within three, but a failed onside kick meant the game was over with and the Lions were flying home with another win.
BC now has nine days off before hosting the back-to-back defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers at home next Saturday.
It will be the first true litmus test for the young and upcoming Lions.