VANCOUVER – Justin Medlock kicked his seventh field goal of the game from 24 yards out with 14 seconds left on the clock Friday as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the B.C. Lions 35-32.
Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols threw for one touchdown and rushed for another.
With the victory, the Blue Bombers (10-6) moved past the Lions (9-6) for second in the West Division standings and won the season series between the clubs after last weekend’s wild 37-35 victory over B.C. in Winnipeg.
Calgary (13-1-1) is dominating the division, but the runner-up will host the West semifinal, and the Blue Bombers now own the tiebreak with the Lions, although B.C. has three games remaining in the regular season to Winnipeg’s two.
Both the Blue Bombers and Lions have already qualified for the post-season. B.C. is in for the 20th straight year, while Winnipeg made the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Jonathon Jennings threw two touchdowns and backup quarterback Travis Lulay ran in another, but the Lions turned the ball over six times, including twice late in the fourth. Richie Leone kicked was good on 3 of 4 field goals for B.C.
After Winnipeg tied the score 32-32 late in the fourth, Lions kick returner Chris Rainey fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff and the Blue Bombers milked the clock from there to set up Medlock’s game-winning boot.
Tied 22-22 after three quarters, Lulay ran the ball in from eight yards out after converting a third-and-one with just over 10 minutes to go in the fourth to give his team a seven-point lead in the see-saw affair.
Leone hit his fourth field goal of the night on B.C. night from 37 yards out with under seven minutes to make it 32-22.
The Blue Bombers drove down the field to the Lions’ one, but had to settle for Medlock’s sixth field goal of the night with just under three minutes to play.
B.C. just needed a couple of first downs, but Jennings threw his third interception of the night, this time to Kevin Fogg, which was returned to the Lions’ 10. Nichols then found Clarence Denmark on the next play to knot the score 32-32.
Winnipeg led 12-11 after a sloppy first half that included a combined five field goals and five turnovers, and stretched that edge to four when Medlock connected from 51 yards out just over three minutes into the third quarter.
But the Lions struck back with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jennings to Shawn Gore, who missed last week with a concussion, to make it 18-15 after the convert.
The Blue Bombers conceded a single point on the ensuing kickoff after a roughing the passer call on the TD toss, and safety Mike Edem snagged his second interception of the night on the very next play to set B.C. up at the Winnipeg 38. The Bombers looked to have pushed the Lions out of field-goal range, but another roughing the passer call kept the drive going to set up a 19-yard Leone field goal and make it 22-15.
Winnipeg got the ball back and drove it down to B.C.’s one, where Nichols went over from a yard out tie the score following the convert.
Trailing 3-1 after the first quarter, the Lions took the lead early in the second when Jennings hooked up with Chris Rainey on an 11-yard TD strike that Leone converted for a five-point B.C. advantage.
Medlock responded with a 30-yard field goal a few minutes later to make it 8-6, but B.C. retook the lead on a 52-yard boot from Leone after Edem’s first pick of the night.
The kicking display continued on Winnipeg’s next drive, with Medlock connecting from 40 yards out to make it 11-9.
The Lions got the ball back, but wide receiver Bryan Burnham fumbled after getting rocked by Winnipeg safety Taylor Loffler to set up another Medlock field goal from 35 yards out with just over two minutes to go in the half out to make it 12-11.
Loffler then grabbed second pick of the half, and B.C.’s fourth turnover, with under a minute to go.
The Lions took an early 1-0 lead when Leone missed a 30-yard field goal, but the Blue Bombers responded later in the first quarter with a 32-yard Medlock boot that was set up by a T.J. Heath interception.
Loffler had also earlier intercepted Lions running back Jeremiah Johnson’s attempt on a trick play deep in Blue Bombers’ territory midway through the quarter.
Note: Winnipeg is off next week before a home-and-away set with Ottawa to close out the season, while B.C. hosts Edmonton next Saturday and then closes out its schedule with back-to-back games against Saskatchewan.
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