Lions feast on injured prey

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Akili Smith's first CFL start lasted less than 25 minutes, which was the same as the Calgary Stampeders chances against the Grey Cup champions.

The former NFL first-round draft pick, who was taking over from Henry Burris, pulled his groin early in the second quarter of a 42-9 loss to the B.C. Lions last night in front of 32,263 fans at B.C. Place Stadium.

Fresh-faced rookie Barrick Nealy took over for Smith and promptly fumbled on his first rushing attempt, leading to a Lions field goal.

Smith was injured while scrambling after dropping a snap.

"We were running the ball well, and up until that one sack, I hadn't been touched the whole time," Smith said. "I felt good, I was seeing things well. It's just an unfortunately injury."

The loss was the second straight for the 6-6-1 Stamps, who are now three points back of Saskatchewan for second in the West Division.

B.C. (9-3-1) has won four of five since tying the Stamps 45-45 Aug. 17 in Calgary. The Lions are three points up on the Riders for first in the West.

The Stamps defence did nothing to help its offence, allowing the Lions to score majors on their first two possessions for all the points they would need.

"We didn't support Akili enough," said head coach Tom Higgins. "That was as tough a position to put him in. I don't know if guys with CFL experience would have much more success.

"We tried to take some pressure of Akili by running the football, but it didn't matter because they controlled the line of scrimmage."

In his fifth straight start with Dave Dickenson and Buck Pierce hurt, Jarious Jackson started out hot and stayed that way. He finished the night 23-of-28 passing for 307 yards and three TDs.

Nealy went 5-of-15 passing for 91 yards but managed to rush for 50 on seven carries.

"I'm hard on myself personally, and I know I can play better," said Nealy. "That's the first little piece of action I had. When my number gets called again, I have to be better."

"That was difficult position for a young quarterback," Higgins added.


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