Ricky Lloyd had been exposed to the Canadian Football League for less than two weeks, but the quarterback from California made an impact in his first game.
The 25-year-old out of Minnesota State threw three touchdown passes for the B.C. Lions in a 36-23 pre-season win over the Calgary Stampeders on Friday.
B.C. trailed until the third quarter, when Lloyd connected with Kevin Elliott, Trevon Van and Ricky Collins Jr.
It’s not automatic an American quarterback can quickly catch onto the Canadian game. Lloyd surpassed head coach Wally Buono’s expectations on Friday.
“You give quarterbacks little tests and then you see how they deal with the little tests,” Buono said. “If I was to grade him today on the little test, I would give him an A-plus.”
Lloyd went into Friday’s game late in the second quarter and stayed in after Cody Fajardo took a hard hit.
“I honestly had no idea when I was coming in today,” Lloyd said.
“I came in and tried to stay calm, cool and collected the whole night and went through my progressions, went through my reads all day and just tried to be smart with the ball, and do what I could do to help the team win.”
Keelan Johnson scored a defensive touchdown for the Lions. Ty Long kicked a 45-yard field goal and Jose Maltos was good from 48 and 23 yards.
Starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and Markeith Ambles scored touchdowns for Calgary.
Rene Paredes kicked field goals from 26, 48 and 27 yards in front of an announced 24,681 at McMahon Stadium.
Lloyd, who played three seasons at Minnesota State, completed 15-of-23 passes for 121 yards.
“For a guy that’s never played in the CFL, that’s really just been around the CFL game for less than two weeks, to be able to have that kind of composure, make some plays that he did, even the clock management I thought he did a very good job,” Buono said.
Lions starter Jon Jennings completed 4-of-5 passes for 40 yards before he was replaced by Fajardo to start the second quarter.
Fajardo was 3-for-4 in passing for 38 yards in just under a quarter of work before Lloyd came in.
“He has a rocket arm,” was Jennings’ observation of Lloyd. “He’s composed back there and obviously you saw he can make some plays. It’s always fun seeing new faces come in and tear things up.”
Mitchell completed 3-of-5 passes for 45 yards in almost a quarter of work, followed by Ricky Stanzi who went 6-for-15 for 75 yards with one interception.
Larry Brihm Jr. threw just two passes in the third quarter for Calgary, but one of them was for a touchdown. Nick Arbuckle completed 7-of-12 passes for 62 yards, but was intercepted twice.
Lloyd threw touchdown passes of five, six and 11 yards in the third quarter.
Brihm connected with Ambles under the uprights for a major early in the quarter.
Stampeder head coach Dave Dickenson unsuccessfully challenged a roughing-the-passer penalty late in the first half, which ended with Calgary leading 17-11.
B.C.’s Johnson recovered a Romar Morris fumble early in the second quarter and took the ball back 23 yards for a Lions touchdown. Fajardo then kept the ball and ran it in for the two-point convert.
On a second-and-goal late in the first quarter, Mitchell found a seam and ran the ball in to score.
The Stampeders finish the pre-season June 8 on the road against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Calgary starts the regular season at home June 16 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Lions host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a pre-season game June 8 before opening at home on June 16 against the Montreal Alouettes.