BC Lions running back Jeremiah Johnson (24) pushes through to score a touchdown in second quarter CFL action against the Toronto Argonauts, in Toronto on Saturday, August 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

TORONTO — James Franklin’s one-yard TD run with under three minutes remaining rallied the Toronto Argonauts to an exciting 24-23 win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday afternoon.

Franklin staked Toronto (3-5) to a 24-20 advantage at 2:59 of the fourth. It capped an impressive 87-yard, 12-play march.

Tyler Long’s 46-yard field goal at 6:37 pulled B.C. (3-5) to within 24-23.

Toronto appeared poised to clinch the win when Marcus Ball had a clear path to the endzone on an interception. But he fumbled and it was recovered by the Lions’ Chris Rainey at the B.C. 22.

But Ball earned his redemption when he recovered Manny Arcenaux’s fumble at centre field with 38 seconds remaining. That thrilled the season-high BMO Field gathering of 18,104 with the CNE underway.

It marked Toronto’s second straight comeback win with starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson as B.C. led 17-10 at the half. Bethel-Thompson threw four second-half TD passes to rally the Argos from a 24-point deficit for a stunning 42-41 home win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Aug. 2.

Bethel-Thompson finished 18-of-29 passing for 260 yards with one touchdown in his second CFL start.

Lions’ starter Travis Lulay was 21-of-35 passing for 285 yards with a touchdown and interception.

The game was Lions coach Wally Buono’s final regular-season visit to Toronto. The CFL leader in coaching victories (276-161-3) and seven-time Grey Cup winner (twice as a player, five times as a coach) will retire at the end of the year and fell to 32-16 against the Argos.

Toronto improved to 11-4 coming off the bye since 2011. B.C. fell to 0-5 on the road this season.

RELATED: Lions look to reach .500 mark with win over Argos

Bethel-Thompson was drilled on the play but still found Anthony Coombs on a 20-yard touchdown pass at 10:26 of the third, cutting the Lions’ lead to 20-17. Coombs was playing in his first game of the season after recovering from an ankle injury.

Long gave B.C. a 20-10 lead with a 45-yard field goal at 5:46.

Jeremiah Johnson and Bryan Burnham had B.C.’s touchdowns. Long booted three field goals and two converts.

Medeiros finished with three field goals, two converts and a single.

Medeiros’s 44-yard field goal at 13:53 cut B.C.’s half-time lead to 17-10. It came after Johnson scored on a two-yard run at 12:26 and Lulay’s 44-yard TD strike to Burnham at 3:16.

Johnson’s touchdown came after B.C. stopped Martese Jackson on a third-and-two gamble at the Lions’ 47-yard line.

Medeiros also had a 69-yard punt single at 1:29.

Toronto led 6-3 after the first after Medeiros field goals of 32 yards at 9:43 and 39 yards at 13:24 respectively. Long’s 34-yard kick at 6:12 capped a 59-yard, 12-play drive that included former Argo Cody Fajardo’s 13-yard completion to Otha Foster on third-and-two.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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