OTTAWA — Quarterback Nathan Rourke led the way once again in the BC Lions’ Week 4 victory over the Ottawa REDBLACKS, but the Canadian had to overcome one of his toughest tests yet to get the job done.
The 24-year-old from Oakville, Ont., saw his perfect start to the season fall apart as he threw back-to-back interceptions to Monshadrik “Money” Hunter in the third quarter, opening the door for Ottawa to take the lead. But Rourke showed resilience and bounced back by leading back-to-back touchdown drives to help lift the undefeated Lions to their third straight win.
Rourke’s biggest throw on Thursday night came just after his final interception — a 71-yard touchdown strike to receiver Keon Hatcher to reclaim the lead.
“He bounced back, and that’s what you want to see in a young quarterback, somebody who’s going to bounce back and continue to play. He had a great game and I’m just really proud of him,” Lions linebacker Boseko Lokombo told TSN after the win.
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Through three games, Rourke has thrown a league-leading 1,077 yards and nine touchdowns with just the two interceptions. He’s also tied for the league-lead with three rushing touchdowns, with his latest coming on an incredible 50-yard run against Ottawa. The record-setting Canadian pivot has powered the Lions to their first 3-0 start since 2007.
Even after his fourth-quarter fumble against the REDBLACKS, Rourke was confident he and his team would find a way to win.
“It doesn’t matter what they’re going to throw at us, this team can find a way. (I’m) really proud of the guys,” Rourke told TSN.
Rourke will do everything he can to clean up the mistakes moving forward, as he is known to be his toughest critic.
“He’s tough on himself. Not a lot of guys are going to get in his head, but he’s tough on himself,” Lokombo said. “He comes to work every day, the first guy in the locker room and the last guy out of the locker room. It’s just great to see. Those are the type of leaders that you want to see in your locker room.”
Rourke attributed the bounce-back performance to the support he received from his team, saying it helped him turn the page and move forward.
“It was really the encouragement and support of the team saying next play and having a short memory and all that stuff,” Rourke said.
Rourke and the Lions will aim for their fourth straight victory when they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Place to close out Week 5 on Saturday, July 9 at 7 p.m. ET.
“We’ve got another great team coming up with Winnipeg, so we’ve got to learn from this one, use it to get better and move on. That’s all we can do,” Rourke said.