CALGARY — BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke threw for 488 yards in a 41-40 victory Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders.
The 24-year-old from Victoria recovered from the first two interceptions, which the Stampeders converted into touchdowns, running for a pair of short-range touchdowns and throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the thrilling CFL contest.
Completing 39 of 52 pass attempts, Rourke broke his own single-game passing record by a Canadian after the 477 yards he posted in last week’s win over Edmonton.
“There will come a time in my life when I will look back and realize how lucky I was to be able to play with him,” Lions wide receiver Bryan Burnham said. “I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Sean Whyte’s 25-yard field goal with two seconds left in the game capped the Lions’ comeback.
The Stampeders led by nine points midway through the fourth quarter when Peyton Logan scored on a 99-yard electric kick return, but the Lions made up for that deficit.
“It wasn’t pretty at all, but we found a way to win, but I’m proud of the guys who stuck together and found a way,” Rourke said. “At this point, I’m just trying to help this team win any way I can.”
Rourke threw touchdown passes to Burnham and Dominique Rhymes. Whyte also kicked field goals from 19, 38 and 23 yards.
Former University of Calgary Jalen Philpot scored his first CFL touchdown, as did defensive lineman Folarin Orimolade on an interception return for Calgary.
Shawn Bane had a touchdown and Rene Paredes threw for 28, 53, 32 and 51 yards in the field for a reported 22,229 at McMahon Stadium.
The Lions (7-1) and Stampeders (5-3) rank second and third respectively in the CFL West Division behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-1).
Calgary and British Columbia wrap up their season series with a home-and-away game Sept. 17 in Calgary and Sept. 24 in Vancouver.
Bo Levi Mitchell became the Stampeders’ all-time leader in passing yards with an eight-yard throw on Calgary’s first practice.
He needed just six yards to jump on Henry Burris (32,191) and reach that milestone in his 10th season and 116th game with Calgary. Burris played 118 games with the Stampeders.
After two straight games without a touchdown pass, Mitchell threw two on Saturday. The Stampeders quarterback completed 18 of 32 pass attempts for 206 yards and was not intercepted, but he was unhappy with Calgary’s inability to finish off the Lions.
“Bad penalties, bad decisions. Everyone, from the linesmen to the guys on the pitch, everyone was terrible,” Mitchell said. “It was a bad second half. You score 40 points, you can’t lose a game.”
Calgary led 40-31 with just over six minutes left after Logan returned for a major.
However, the Lions were not going easy, with a 33-yard catch from Burnham under double coverage leading BC to the Calgary 10-yard line with just under three minutes left.
Rourke collected his seventh rushing touchdown this season on a one-yard run to trail BC by just two points.
Calgary opted to throw instead of inserting Paredes for a 55-yard field goal attempt with a minute and a half left.
“I get nervous starting at 50, especially with them coming back there,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said. “We had in our mind about 51, 52 at the most. He hit one because the wind kind of changed.
“I just felt we had a good plan. We just didn’t stop them.”
The Lions have always faced a long field for a winning field goal from their own six-yard line, but Cameron Judge’s brutal passer penalty shortened it for the visitors.
Rourke designed a nine-play, 86-yard drive to put Whyte within goal range.
The Lions trailed by 12 points when BC linebacker Ben Hladik picked up Dedrick Mills’ fumble on the Calgary 34-yard line in the final minute of the third quarter.
Rourke knocked down Lucky Whitehead in the end zone, leaving Whyte with a 23-yard field goal to go.
But Rourke’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Burnham behind cover with seven minutes left in the game brought the Lions back to less than two points.
Calgary turned a pair of Rourke interceptions into a 20-3 lead in the first minute of the second quarter, when Orimolade pulled back his first career pick 28 yards to score.
Rourke rallied with a pair of scoring drives — sandwiched around a 32-yard Paredes field — but the Stampeders would score again before halftime.
British Columbia’s David Menard passer-roughing penalty moved Calgary to the Lions 24-yard line, where Mitchell quickly threw to Bane rushing into the end zone for a 30-18 lead at halftime. -time.
Paredes was 51 yards wide in the final minute of the half, but split the uprights the same distance early in the third quarter to give Calgary a 33-18 lead. Whyte was good from 38 yards midway through the quarter to cut the deficit.
Rourke scored his first rushing touchdown of the night with a one-yard dive in the second quarter.
After Orimolade’s pick six, Rourke quickly scrolled the Lions down and threw a 30-yard pass to Rhymes in the end zone to score.
Paredes’ 53-yard field goal, which was the longest of his season, gave the hosts a 13-3 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter.
After Nick Statz beat Rourke on BC’s second drive of the game, Mitchell’s second pass was a 19-yard throw to Philpot in the end zone to score.
The clubs traded goals on the field in the early drives of the first quarter.