Moving the ball down the field hasn’t been a problem for either the BC Lions or Edmonton Elks.
Getting it in the end zone, however, has been another story.
Michael Reilly will be back at quarterback, or at least he’s listed atop the depth chart for the Lions when the open their home schedule Thursday night against an Elks team looking to avoid its first 0-3 start in more than a decade.
Instead of waiting until moments before kickoff to name his starting QB – like he did in BC’s first two games due to Reilly’s ailing elbow – coach Rick Campbell announced Monday that Reilly will get the starting nod after he was listed as the backup and ended up starting in last Thursday’s 15-9 win over the Calgary Stampeders.
After replacing rookie Nathan Rourke in a season-opening loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Reilly completed 26 of 33 passes for 342 yards without an interception, while running for the game’s only touchdown to lead BC to its first victory.
“Those were two tough road games and certainly we would love to be 2-0 at this point but 1-1 is better than 0-2,” Reilly said. “We’re going to be playing a tough Edmonton team, but we get to be at home finally.”
The goal now for Reilly and the offence is to score more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
BC ranks first in the CFL in yards per game (409.0) and yards per play (5.9) but only has four touchdowns compared to seven field goals.
It’s been a similar problem for the Elks, who have scored just one offensive touchdown despite leading the league with 49 first downs and ranking second in total offence at 371.0 yards per game.
No one has thrown for more yards (566) or completed more passes (52) than Trevor Harris, though he is responsible for four of Edmonton’s five turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble).
“We know where we want to be come November, December, and we’re going to keep striving to get there,” the 35-year-old Harris said. “I’ve been in this league quite a long time and I’ve been on some championship teams, and this has the makeup.”
Before looking too far ahead, the Elks’ first order of business is to avoid their first 0-3 start since beginning 0-4 in 2010.
In 2019, Edmonton won all three meetings with BC.