By Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – The Ottawa Redblacks are a different team with a different attitude in 2015.
For the first time in their short franchise history, the Redblacks have won two-straight games after a 27-16 victory against the B.C. Lions on Saturday night.
Last year, it took Ottawa (2-0) 13 games before it won two games and that’s all they managed for the season.
“We don’t even remember what happened last year,” said Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris. “We’ve added some great pieces in the right places. We all believe in each other in this locker room and now we’re making the plays that help stack on top of that and the potential and the belief in here is sky high and the confidence is sky high.”
Burris was a big part of the victory â€” throwing three touchdowns and finishing the game completing 23-of-29 pass attempts for 290 yards and one interception.
A strong second half was the difference for the Redblacks as they outscored the Lions (0-1) 17-9 in the final two quarters in front of 24,376 fans at TD Place.
An 11-yard TD pass to Ernest Jackson and a 30-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ellingson helped sparked the offence. Delbert Alvarado also connected on a 28-yard field goal.
“We talked at half time that belief was a big part of this thing and that you believe that we’re going to find a way to get it done and that the guys are going to step up and make the plays,” said Ottawa coach Rick Campbell. “Our guys have bought into that.”
Receiver Brad Sinopoli stepped up for the Redblacks with nine carries for 99 yards.
Sinopoli was a quarterback at the University of Ottawa during his university football career and Saturday’s win was a special return. Sinopoli scored the first touchdown of the game on a seven-yard pass late in the second quarter and was instrumental in getting the Redblacks into field goal range in the dying seconds of the first half to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room.
“It was incredible,” said Sinopoli. “The crowd, the atmosphere, it was awesome.”
The Lions, playing their first game of the season, had their opportunities, but were unable to take advantage.
Twice in the first half B.C. was forced to settle for field goals when they were in touchdown range.
Richie Leone gave the Lions a 6-0 lead on 11 and 13-yard field goals.
B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay was playing his first regular season game since injuring his shoulder in Ottawa last September. He was 18-of-32 on his pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
“We did a lot of good things, especially early in this game, but we didn’t finish those drives,” said Lulay. “That’s where we need to be better.”
The Lions took the lead when Lulay connected with Austin Collie for a 26-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to make it 16-13.
“We’ve got to finish a game,” said B.C. coach Jeff Tedford, who was making his CFL head coaching debut. “We’ve got to give them credit, they deserved to win. They played better than we did. It’s everybody’s responsibility, the coaches, players, everyone.”
The Redblacks are back in action Thursday as they head to Edmonton, while B.C. hosts Saskatchewan on Friday.
Notes: Lions defensive back Ryan Phillips left the game with a hamstring injury, but it’s unclear how severe the injury is.