VANCOUVER - Jonathon Jennings threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Emmanuel Arceneaux, as the B.C. Lions defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 41-18 on Saturday in the CFL's regular-season finale.
Jennings connected with Terrell Sinkfield on his other TD completion for the Lions (12-6), who locked up their first home playoff game since the 2011 Grey Cup and will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Sunday in the West Division semifinal.
Arceneaux finished with 10 catches for 180 yards.
Paul McCallum was perfect on four field goals and two converts for B.C. after coming out of retirement on Tuesday at age 46. Travis Lulay added a TD toss to Bryan Burham in mop-up duty for the Lions.
Brandon Bridge and Greg Morris ran in touchdowns for Saskatchewan, while Tyler Crapigna kicked a field goal, a single and two converts for Saskatchewan.
Winnipeg (11-7), which owned the tiebreaker over B.C. after winning both games between the clubs this season, put the pressure on the Lions to either win or tie the Roughriders on Saturday in order to secure home field after posting a 33-20 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks in the nation's capital on Friday.
A victory by the lowly Roughriders (5-13), who lost three straight to close out the season, would have meant B.C. getting on a plane to play at Winnipeg next weekend.
The Blue Bombers were in the driver's seat to host the West semi after those two victories over the Lions in October. But Winnipeg's 23-10 home loss last weekend to Ottawa coupled with B.C.'s 24-6 victory at Saskatchewan put the ball back in the Lions' court.
The winner of next week's game at B.C. Place Stadium will travel to Calgary to take on the Stampeders (15-2-1) in the division final on Nov. 20.
Jennings entered play needing just 81 yards passing to join Doug Flutie, Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers as the only quarterbacks in Lions' history to reach 5,000 in a season, and the second-year pivot got that out of the way in an opening quarter that saw him connect with Arceneaux on two TDs.
After his first pass attempt was picked off by Saskatchewan's Ed Gainey, Jennings led the Lions on a drive midway through the quarter that culminated in a five-yard touchdown toss to Arceneaux in front of a season-high crowd of 26,481.
B.C. failed on the two-point conversion attempt, and Crapigna connected on a 28-yard field goal on the next Roughriders' possession to make it 6-3.
The Roughriders elected to sit starting quarterback Darian Durant because of some bumps and bruises, while Jake Waters, who split time under centre last week, missed out with a broken collarbone. That meant Saskatchewan dressed a trio of backups in Mitchell Gale, G.J. Kinne and Bridge.
The Roughriders had a chance to grab the lead after Lions running back Jeremiah Johnson fumbled inside B.C. territory, but had to settle for a single point on Crapigna's missed field goal from 39 yards out after Kadron Boone dropped a sure touchdown pass from Kinne.
B.C. made the visitors pay and went up by 10 late in the quarter when Jennings hit Arceneaux from 13 yards out for his 13th TD catch of the season before Chris Rainey ran in a two-point conversion.
McCallum, who joined the Lions after Richie Leone's kicking struggles reached a breaking point last week, booted the 719th field goal of his career from 24 yards out midway through the second quarter to a nice ovation from the crowd.
The Lions then capped a half that saw them turn the ball over three times when Jennings hit a wide-open Sinkfield from five yards out for a touchdown that was set up by a 61-yard completion to Arceneaux for a 24-4 lead at the break.
McCallum nailed a 44-yard field goal early in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 23.
Gale fumbled on a botched handoff when Saskatchewan got the ball back, and McCallum hit on a 19 yarder to make it 30-4.
McCallum, who spent last season with Saskatchewan after getting cut by B.C. in training camp, then hit again from 28 yards as B.C. led 33-4 after three quarters.
Lulay replaced Jennings in the fourth quarter, and hooked up with Burham from three yards out to make it 40-4 with the convert.
Saskatchewan conceded a single on Leone's ensuing kickoff before Bridge scored his team's first TD on a 16-yard scamper, and Morris rounded out the scoring with under three minutes to go when he scored on a 33-yard run.
Notes: Jennings joined Edmonton's Mike Reilly and Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell as the only quarterbacks to surpass the 5,000-yard plateau this season. Reilly finished with 5,554 yards, while Mitchell wound up with 5,385. Both Reilly and Mitchell played 17 games. Jennings finished with 5,226 yards after starting all 18 contests for B.C. ... The CFL had three 5,000-yard passers for the first time since 2008. ... The Lions have not hosted a semifinal since 1986, when they met the Bombers. B.C. was also 12-6 that year, while Winnipeg was 11-7. ... McCallum played 23 seasons, including 11 with B.C., before retiring in March.
CHRIS JONES POSTGAME COMMENTS:
- The things that haunted in the first part of the season reared themselves again. We had 7 pre-snap penalties in the first half. You can't put yourself in a hole like that against good teams.
- I thought all three QBs did some good things. They took turns looking their age too but Bridge did some nice things and looked better in the game than he did in practice.
- We don't care what nationality they are. Bridge, at practice has looked average, but he certainly looked good tonight. When he got his opportunity, he seized the moment and took advantage of it.
- You have to look at it play-by-play, not at the result. You have to look at their body of work. You can't do anything about drops. We had three in the first half, one for a touchdown, or it could've been a different game. We shot ourselves too many times in the foot.
- It's been unfortunate with all the injuries we've had but that's not why we've lost these games. We have to coach them harder, and execute better.
- We had between 14 and 16 starters that weren't here tonight. We have to take the positives that we saw from the games that we won and the good thing is you can see who will play hard when the chips are down. You saw who'll show up when things are tough.
- Being a GM wasn't very much different. All the injuries we had, JO and Murph did a great job of bringing in great players or it could've been worse. I don't even know how many injuries we had but those guys continued to bring in talent.
- There are some bright spots. We have some great players and there are some pieces here. We're going to keep grinding and keep working. There's no quit in us.