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Harris, Logan lead Lions' dangerous running attack

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The Canadian Press
11/6/2013 6:41:44 PM
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VANCOUVER -- It wasn't long ago that the B.C. Lions' ground attack was in tatters.

Running back Andrew Harris registered an abysmal 10 yards on six carriers in a 31-17 home loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders back on Oct. 4 and followed that up a week later by rushing nine times for 31 yards in a 40-26 road defeat at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders.

What a difference a month makes.

General manager Wally Buono brought in former Lions running back/kick returner Stefan Logan to give his team's ground game a shot in the arm after the Calgary loss. Following some initial hiccups, B.C. hasn't looked back.

Coming off two straight wins, that re-energized running game featuring both Harris and Logan could play a big part in Sunday's CFL West Division semifinal when the Lions visit chilly Regina to take on the Roughriders.

"The 1-2 punch between me and Stefan has been great," said Harris. "We definitely feed off each other and when you have that competition with someone else taking reps and getting in there and you see them doing well, it definitely gets you going to make some plays."

Harris, who finished third in the CFL this season with 998 yards on the ground, rushed for 102 yards against Calgary in last week's regular-season finale. It marked his first 100-yard rushing game since late July and came on the heels of Logan's 121-yard effort against the Edmonton Eskimos on Oct. 25.

"The biggest thing is we're two different styles of running backs. It definitely frees up some space for him and it definitely frees up space for me," said Harris, who rushed for 76 yards in the Edmonton game. "When you have two different styles of runners ... it's going to be tough for teams to game plan against that."

The five-foot-11, 213-pound Harris is a more straight ahead back, while the five-foot-six, 180-pound Logan is more shifty.

Logan, who played with the Lions in 2008 before spending four seasons in the NFL, said the fact that B.C. has rushed for over 200 yards in each of the last two weeks has lifted a burden off both the backs and an offensive line that was taking a lot of heat for the lack of production.

"Being a part of it right now, we're having a great time," said Logan. "We're in the meeting rooms and now it's a little more chill and laid back and having fun instead of all uptight and worrying about how we're going to look this game. It's going well and we want to keep it going."

Having two featured running backs can sometimes cause problems for teams with both players wanting more touches, but Logan said a key for the Lions has been maturity.

"When you're in the game and your name is called and your number is called, you want to make plays and that's what it's all about," he said. "I want to make plays any way I can.

"It's always a battle with each and every position, but you can't let that get to you and lose focus on what's going on right now. Right now we're in the playoffs to play Saskatchewan and right now is not a time to be selfish."

Prior to his own resurgence, Harris was clearly frustrated but bit his tongue when repeatedly asked about the struggling ground game as B.C. went 11 straight contests without a 100-yard rusher.

"There's no doubt that certainly there's been adversities, ups and downs and those types of things, but that's the course of an 18-game season," said Lions head coach Mike Benevides. "All the challenges that we've all faced are going to make us stronger and better for when it really counts."

The Lions and Roughriders finished the regular season with identical 11-7 records, but Saskatchewan won two of the three head-to-head matchups to earn the second seed in the West Division.

Benevides has yet to decide on his starting quarterback for Sunday, but either Travis Lulay -- who is returning from an injury to his throwing shoulder -- or veteran backup Buck Pierce will benefit if the Harris-Logan combination continues to click with temperatures expected to dip to as low as -10 C in Regina.

"Me and him -- the two-headed monster," said Logan. "I like the name and I want to keep it going."

Andrew Harris (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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