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Vernon Adams Jr. throws 4 TD passes to lead Lions past Ticats 44-28

Leos cruise to fourth straight CFL victory
BC Lions wide receiver Justin McInnis (18) is unable to hang onto the ball while being defended by Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Destin Talbert (26) during first quarter CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday, July 7, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Vernon Adams Jr. threw four first-half touchdown passes to lead the visiting B.C. Lions past the struggling Hamilton Tiger-Cats 44-28 on Sunday night.

Adams led B.C. (4-1) to its fourth straight victory. Over that stretch, he has nine TD passes and no interceptions.

Adams, who entered the contest as the CFL’s leading passer, finished 26-of-36 passing for 383 yards. He also ran three times for 15 yards.

B.C.’s offensive success wasn’t surprising given its unit entered action leading the CFL in net yards (408.3 per game). But the Lions stood fifth in offensive points (24.3).

Hamilton (0-5) was second in offensive yards (390.5 per game) but had to play catch-up right from the start. The Ticats have lost five straight to start a season for the first time since 2017 when they dropped to 0-8.

Ticats’ starting QB Bo Levi Mitchell completed 32-of-48 passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns before a Tim Hortons Field gathering of 20,210. He connected with Kiondre Smith with a four-yard TD toss on the game’s final play.

Justin McInnis and William Stanback, with two each, and Alexander Hollins had B.C.’s touchdowns. Sean Whyte booted the converts and three field goals, pushing his streak of consecutive kicks made to a career-best 31.

McInnis registered 10 catches for 144 yards while Hollins added six receptions for 116 yards. Stanback scored on a three-yard run at 13:09 of the fourth.

James Butler and Luther Hakunavanhu scored Hamilton’s other touchdowns. Marc Liegghio had three converts and two field goals while Nik Constantinou added a single.

Butler ran for 27 yards on nine carries but had nine catches for 108 yards.

Liegghio booted a 28-yard field goal at 5:05 of the third but Whyte countered with a 35-yard boot at 8:30. Mitchell’s four-yard TD pass to Hakunavanhu at 13:51 cut B.C.’s lead to 37-21.

Whyte’s 28-yard boot at 14:33 of the second staked B.C. to a commanding 34-11 halftime advantage. That didn’t sit well with the home crowd, which booed the Ticats off the field.

Adams was definitely a one-man show in the first half, completing 18-of-25 passes for 321 yards and the four TDs.

McInnis was his favourite target with eight catches for 131 yards and the two TDs while Hollins recorded five receptions for 106 yards and the touchdown. B.C’s offence rolled up 348 net yards — compared to 139 for Hamilton — and scored on six-of-eight possessions.

McInnis came into the contest with 21 catches for 338 yards and two touchdowns.

READ MORE: B.C. Lions QB Vernon Adams Jr. named CFL’s top offensive player for June

Mitchell was 10-of-18 passing for 115 yards and a TD. The Ticats also didn’t help themselves with seven penalties for 54 yards.

Liegghio’s 22-yard field goal at 11:02 cut B.C.’s lead to 31-11. Mitchell threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Butler at 5:39 but Adams countered with a 69-yard TD toss to Hollins at 6:32 that put B.C. ahead 31-8.

Adams and McInnis combined on a seven-yard passing TD at 1:26 to stretch B.C.’s lead to 21-1. Whyte’s 39-yard boot at 4:30 put the Lions ahead 24-1.

Constantinou drew loud cheers from the home crowd after his 60-yard punt went for a single at 14:13 of the first.

Adams capped both of B.C.’s opening possessions with TD passes. He found McInnis on a five-yard strike at 6:00 after hitting Stanback on a 45-yard touchdown pass at 2:08. The Lions amassed a combined 147 yards on just 10 offensive plays.


Tiger-Cats: They have a bye week, Hamilton has a bye week, then will host the Toronto Argonauts on July 20.

Lions: Host the unbeaten Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-0) on Saturday.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press