Stamps look to contain Travis Lulay

BC Lions quarterback Travis Lulay (L) is challenged by Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Markeith...

BC Lions quarterback Travis Lulay (L) is challenged by Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Markeith Knowlton during the first half of their CFL football game in Vancouver, British Columbia earlier this month. (REUTERS)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:56 PM ET

The Calgary Stampeders feel the best way to beat Travis Lulay is to put the B.C. Lions quarterback in his place.

Then they have to keep him there.

In less than two full seasons as a starting CFL quarterback, the Montana State product has become one of those players defences fear and respect.

So when the Stamps face the Lions Saturday at McMahon Stadium, the main focus for the home side will be to keep him contained.

If that's possible.

"You need to keep this guy in the pocket," defensive end Chris McCoy said. "When you get this guy out of the pocket, that's when he's at his best. We have to keep him in the pocket and make things uncomfortable for him.

"A lot of guys get out of the pocket and don't do too well. When he gets outside, that's when he makes big plays."

Last season, Lulay led all quarterbacks in rushing average with 8.3 yards per attempt.

He's even more dangerous when he's rolling out to pass.

With veteran receivers such as Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce, when Lulay can extend the play, he has players who eventually find open space.

"Travis is a great quarterback, but he's also a really good athlete," Simon said. "He can get out of that pocket and make things happen with his feet. That's an added bonus."

Last season, the Stamps weren't really successful in terms of putting opposing quarterbacks down, especially when they needed to in critical situations.

But last week against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the pressure was coming hard from McCoy and the rest of the front four.

McCoy had two sacks, including one in overtime that forced the Riders to make a 50-yard field goal, and Charleston Hughes had one as well.

When Hughes dropped Darian Durant late in the fourth quarter, it was a crucial play in the overtime victory.

The Riders were up by three with two minutes left and at the Stampeders' 37-yard line. Hughes dropped Durant for a 13-yard loss, pushing the Riders out of field-goal range and giving the Stamps a chance to tie and force overtime.

While Stamps head coach John Hufnagel would like more from his pass rush, that performance is a step in the right direction.

"Last week, we got pressure at the critical times," Hufnagel said. "We've been around the quarterback, but we need to get better at it. We will work to get better at the pass rush."

Hughes feels he's winning about 85-90% of his pass rushes this season, and it's clear that he's being more disruptive even if he only has two sacks.

The key to beating Lulay is getting in his face, although he doesn't allow himself to be touched much. In four games, the Lions have allowed just four sacks.

That has as much to do with his ability to scramble as anything else.

"I wouldn't say he's the best running quarterback in the league, but he's the best playmaking quarterback in the league," Hughes said.

"He just makes stuff happen, just like last year. He could throw a 60-yard bomb to Geroy or run a 60-yarder in the skip of a beat.

"He throws on the run as good as any quarterback in this league. He's one of the best right now. We have to just play ball against him."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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