Travis Lulay shows importance of No. 2 quarterback in CFL

Travis Lulay is living proof of just how important a backup quarterback is in the CFL.

The 33-year-old threw for a career-best 436 yards and three TDs Saturday night in leading B.C. past the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 41-26. Lulay set a CFL record for most passing yards coming off the bench, replacing injured starter Jonathon Jennings on the Lions’ first possession.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a special moment for me to be able to come off the bench and help my team win,” Lulay said. “Being a (backup) you never know when or how it’s going to happen.

“Last year it didn’t happen, this year it happened on the second play of the game in a game on the road that my team needed me in. The first two plays I got hit really good, that kind of jarred my senses into the game.”

The six-foot-two, 216-pound Lulay led B.C. to a Grey Cup title in 2011 and was the game MVP after being named the CFL’s outstanding player. Twice he’s thrown for over 4,000 yards and in 2011-12 had a combined 59 TD strikes.

In January 2013, Lulay signed a two-year contract extension reportedly worth $450,000 annually. But he suffered a shoulder injury that season that required surgery and limited him to just four games – and one start – in 2014.

Lulay started 10 games in 2015 before suffering a torn medial collateral ligament. Jennings stepped so impressively as a rookie that when Lulay returned, it was as the backup. To remain with B.C., Lulay had to not only swallow his pride but also take a significant pay cut.

Lulay led B.C. (3-1) to a third straight road win against an East Division opponent. He relished teaming up with receiver Nick Moore, who re-signed with the Lions in February after missing much of last year with a torn ACL suffered while celebrating a touchdown.

Moore, 31, had 10 catches for 220 yards and a TD versus Hamilton.

“An ACL on a receiver is like a throwing shoulder on a quarterback so I know what he went through,” Lulay said. “I was really pulling (for Moore), I’ve always been a really big Nick Moore fan.

“He’s a very smart football player, he reminds me a lot of (former Lions star receiver Geroy Simon) in that sense. It was really fun to be on the field with Nick.”

Lulay hit Moore with a 10-yard TD strike in the second quarter to put B.C. ahead 21-13.

“The fade I threw him, the back-shoulder ball for a TD, we threw the same exact ball on a two-point conversion the first week in 2013 against Calgary,” Lulay said. “I said, ‘You remember the last time we threw this fade ball? Let’s throw one.’

“So we threw one in warmup. Little did we know we’d be throwing that in a game an hour or two later.”