Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson will meet, figuratively speaking, on the football field once again on Saturday night. It’s not surprising when you consider how their professional lives have intertwined for much of the last eight years.
Pierce and Jackson both joined the B.C. Lions quarterback stable in 2005, and they were even roommates in their first season. That made Pierce a little nervous.
“I was a big fan of Jarious, growing up watching him at Notre Dame and then watching him get drafted to the Broncos,” Pierce said Thursday as the Bombers wrapped up preparation for Saturday’s game against Jackson and the Argos. “I was kind of in awe. I was a big fan of him and what he did in college. I don’t think I ever really told him that.”
Jackson on Saturday night will make his first CFL start in more than two years, since Toronto starter Ricky Ray is on the sidelines because of a strained knee ligament. Pierce will make his second start for the Bombers (3-9) since returning from a left foot injury that forced him to miss eight games.
Jackson has started against the Bombers four times in his career, and he has a 3-1 record. That statistic wouldn’t surprise Pierce.
“He’s a good quarterback. Lots of experiences,” Pierce said. “He’s been in the league for eight years now, and he’s won a lot of big ball games. He’s come here and won before. He knows what he’s doing out there. He knows how to play this game. He understand defences, but he also likes to push the football down the football field as well.”
And if it weren’t for Jackson getting hurt on the second snap of the pre-season in 2005, there’s a chance Pierce might not be playing professional football today.
“They brought me in to camp thinking I’d probably just be a camp arm, just be around a few days,” Pierce said. “Jarious got hurt in the first pre-season game in Saskatchewan, and the next thing you know I’m there for five years.
“I kind of took that opportunity and ran with it,” Pierce said.
Pierce and Jackson jockeyed for position on the depth chart in their first few years with the Lions. Pierce looked OK in practice but played well in games, while Jackson was the opposite. That resulted in Pierce becoming the team’s starter when Dave Dickenson was released following the 2007 season.
Despite their battle for playing time, Pierce and Jackson appear to have a strong relationship still today.
“He was a great guy to work with,” Pierce said. “I don’t think you can find a guy in this league, or in the football world, that’ll say a negative thing about him. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”
Jackson’s only loss against Winnipeg was when Fred Reid racked up a franchise-record 260 rushing yards against B.C. in August 2009. Jackson threw for 340 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Lions to a 42-24 win over the host Bombers in July 2008, and a week later he tossed for 396 yards as the Leos beat the Blue and Gold again, that time at B.C. Place.
The Argos signed Jackson earlier this year after the Lions released him.
JARIOUS vs. THE BOMBERS
A look at Jarious Jackson’s four career starts against the Blue and Gold as a member of the B.C. Lions:
Date Result COMP ATT YDS TD INT
Oct. 5, 2007 at Wpg 26-20 W 17 33 241 1 1
July 11, 2008 at Wpg 42-24 W 19 24 340 5 1
July 18, 2008 vs. Wpg 27-18 W 23 38 396 1 2
Aug. 21, 2009 vs. Wpg 37-10 L 15 24 185 1 3
3-1 74 119 1,162 8 7