Taquan Mizzell ran in a pair of touchdowns as the B.C. Lions clinched a playoff spot with a 37-29 victory over the host Edmonton Elks on Friday.
Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns to help B.C. (10-4) win three games in a row.
Canadian QB Tre Ford had two TD passes on 182 yards as Edmonton (4-11) saw its faint playoff hopes almost disappear.
The Elks at least managed to score a point against the Lions after stunningly being shutout out in both of their previous meetings against B.C. this season.
The Lions came roaring out of the gate with a surgical opening drive, needing just seven consecutive successful plays to set up a five-yard touchdown pass from Adams to Justin McInnis.
Things didn’t go nearly as well on their next possession, however, as Adams floated a ball too high and it was picked off and returned 56 yards by Kai Gray for the pick six TD, ending Edmonton’s season-long scoring drought against the Lions.
B.C. made up for it immediately, though, as Adams found Jevon Cottoy, who shrugged off a badly-missed tackle attempt by Mark McLaurin and scampered 57 yards into the end zone.
The big plays kept coming on B.C.’s next possession as well, as a 68-yard punt return by Terry Williams set up a 13-yard TD run by Mizzell to give the Lions a 21-7 lead after the first quarter.
The Elks finally got their listless offence going late in the second quarter when Ford hit Dillon Mitchell in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown, the first offensive points recorded by Edmonton in 148:34 of game play against B.C. this season.
The Lions came flying right back as a 57-yard passing play to Keon Hatcher set up a 12-yard field goal by Sean Whyte.
Dean Faithfull kicked a 41-yard field goal for the Elks with no time left on the clock to make it 24-17 at the mid-mark.
Faithfull started off the third quarter with a missed 41-yard attempt that resulted in a single, but then nailed a 42-yarder with five minutes to play in the frame.
The Lions regained a bit of their cushion when Mizzell found a seam and turned on the jets for a 48-yard touchdown run.
Whyte kicked a 17-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Edmonton kept it interesting as Ford found Mitchell for a four-yard touchdown pass with just under three minutes left in the game to pull within six points.
Whyte booted a 40-yard field goal with 36 seconds left to put the game away for the Lions.
Edmonton lost both previous meetings to the Lions this season, 22-0 in Vancouver on June 17 and 29-0 at home on July 29… Of the nine CFL teams who have started seasons at 0-9 since 1958, only Edmonton this season and Ottawa in 1989 have managed to come back and record four wins… The game featured the two teams with the worst turnover deficits, with the Lions coming into the game at minus-eight and the Elks sitting at minus-12.
The Lions play host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders next Friday. The Elks are on a bye week.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press