VANCOUVER - With the B.C. Lions up 33-5 in the third quarter, running back Andrew Harris jokingly asked Jonathon Jennings if he wanted to borrow his gloves for the next sequence.
The Lions ran a play twice in practice earlier in the week where Harris takes a direct snap and pitches it to receiver Austin Collie, who in turn throws a pass to a streaking Jennings out of the backfield.
The rookie quarterback dropped it both times, but Saturday was different.
"I couldn't be more humbled in this experience,'' said Jennings.
The 23-year-old showed the poise of a veteran, finishing 19-of-25 passing for 364 yards, while adding 40 yards on five carries.
"I said earlier in the week he's going to make plays with his feet and stretch the field with his arm,'' said Harris, before adding with a smile: "I wish it was like hockey where you can get assists for my flip to Collie.''
Jennings, who was No. 3 on the depth chart before Travis Lulay (knee) and John Beck (pectoral muscle) went down with injuries, threw two touchdowns in last weekend's 29-23 road loss against the Edmonton Eskimos and took another big step in this one.
"The team has a lot of confidence in Jon because of the guy he is, the work ethic he has, the way he prepares,'' said Lions head coach Jeff Tedford. "He comes to work each day and works his hardest to do what he can do to help this team win.''
The Lions (5-8) are now two points up on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-10) for third in the West Division with game in hand ahead of next weekend's meeting between the clubs at B.C. Place Stadium.
B.C. came in having lost five of six, but picked up its third win over the Roughriders in 2015 to complete the season sweep. Saskatchewan (2-12), meanwhile, fell to 2-3 under interim head coach Bob Dyce.
"We didn't come to play, we didn't get it done,'' said Roughriders quarterback Kevin Glenn, who was 15-of-21 passing for 185 yards and two interceptions. "You've got to give B.C. credit. They did what they needed to do.''
Up by 15 points at the half, the Lions put things out of reach on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter when Jennings hooked up with Manny Arceneaux on an 82-yard touchdown to make the score 27-5 with Richie Leone's convert.
"I expect myself to go out there and make some plays,'' said Jennings. "Everything's not going to go perfect ... today was just one of those days.''
B.C. kept pouring it on later in the quarter, with Jennings finding Arceneaux from five yards out to stretch the lead to 33-5 after Leone missed his second extra point of the day.
"That guy is something to be reckoned with,'' Lions defensive back Ryan Phillips said of Jennings. "For him to step up like that shows a lot of maturity.''
After Jennings' TD catch, the Roughriders finally found the end zone when Keenan MacDougall recovered a blocked punt by Markus White early in the fourth quarter to make it 40-11. The two-point convert attempt failed.
Paul McCallum added a single on a missed field goal before Leone booted a field goal with 6:05 left.
Saskatchewan then got a late consolation TD on a 47-yard pass from Brett Smith to Naaman Roosevelt.
Smith ran in the two-point convert before Leone hit his fourth field goal for the final points.
Jennings had the Lions up 20-5 at the half on touchdown passes to Shawn Gore and Bryan Burnham and eight points from Leone on two field goals, a single and a convert.
"You always want something to swing your momentum,'' said Jennings. "We've been losing a little bit and it was good to come out there and get the victory and get everybody excited again.''
Notes: Arceneaux had four catches for 137 yards. ... Attendance was 24,554.
HEAD COACH BOB DYCE
- Not the way we wanted to start the game to tell you the truth. We prided ourself on fast starts but we didn't have one today.
- We knew Jennings had a strong arm and would make big plays if we let him. 11 of their points wouldn't have been up there at the half if we'd made sacks.
- The start was slow but really as we talked at the half, we were only down 15 points. We thought we'd make that up in the third quarter but the opening play in the second half jumped on us. For whatever reason we weren't quite ready to go to start the second half.
- That touchdown would've been OPI which isn't challengeable.
- Brett got a full quarter in this game. I think that's good for his development. We were going to ride Kevin out. We just decided to make the change for the fourth quarter.
- The door's still open. Just a little crack. It's a difficult balance whether you see that or not. We know we have to be locked in on what we need to accomplish and not worry what's going on around us. I guess we didn't do a good enough job of that.
- Until that crack is closed, we have a lot of belief in ourselves. I have a lot of believe in the men in that room. We'll go back, talk with Jeremy, things like that. We're still fighting.
DL MARKUS WHITE
- You always gotta bring it regardless of the situation. Whenever you're called on you gotta go to work.
- That was my first blocked punt. They put me in a great position and they told me if they gave it, I could take it.
- I just trust in what they teach and tell me and I do the best to just blow it up. The best possibility came out of it.
- They did a good job and I commend everything they did as well. We had some killers for flags and it still comes down to discipline. But I'm proud to be a Rider and we just have to come back and play hard.
WR RYAN SMITH
- It's frustrating but you gotta commend BC. They came out to play today. It's just frustrating but we'll come back next week.
- They got a good secondary. They scouted us pretty well tonight. You've gotta commend them for coming out to play.
- They played a lot of zone coverage back there, dropping a lot of guys, and you have to try to find the holes and sometimes it's luck of the draw I guess.
- I just try to keep getting better every single game. I take the coaching and listen to it, and try to get better.
- We're gonna come to work this week, work our butts off and get ready for Hamilton.