Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish has ample opportunities to upgrade his own CFL record.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the New Westminster, B.C., native is less than 50 yards from bettering his single-season rushing record by a Canadian running back.
Cornish ran for a pair of touchdowns and a career-high 208 yards in Calgary’s 38-11 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.
At 1,415 yards, Cornish overtook Saskatchewan’s Kory Sheets as the CFL’s leading rusher.
Cornish set his record of 1,457 yards in the final regular-season game of 2012. He bettered Norm Kwong’s mark of 1,437 that had stood for 56 years.
The 28-year-old said he won’t reach the personal goal he’d set for himself this season — and Cornish did not reveal that number — because he missed one game due to injury. Cornish is still motivated to see how how far past last season’s total he can go.
“The mark I was aiming for, I won’t be able to get there, but I’ll try and see how far I can get,” he said. “I want to see what I’m capable of. That’s why I play this game, to push my body to the maximum.”
Maurice Price and Marquay McDaniel had touchdown catches for the Stampeders, who topped the league and the West Division at 11-3. Rene Paredes contributed three fields goals to reach a career-high 41 this season.
Will Ford scored on a 100-yard kickoff return for Winnipeg. Kicker Sandro DeAngelis, a former Stampeder, made one of two field-goal attempts in front of an announced crowd of 26,293 at McMahon Stadium.
Calgary’s Rob Maver and Winnipeg’s Mike Renaud traded punt singles in the second quarter.
Stampeders quarterback Kevin Glenn improved to 7-2 in starts this season with 320 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Glenn was relieved by Drew Tate with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Tate threw his first passes in a game since July 7 when he injured his throwing arm. He completed three of four passes for 41 yards.
Winnipeg dropped to 2-12. Quarterback Max Hall completed 15 of 34 pass attempts for 147 yards. He was intercepted once.
Montreal’s 47-24 victory over Edmonton earlier Saturday further dimmed the Blue Bombers playoff chances. An Alouettes win over Winnipeg next week would eliminate the Blue Bombers from contention.
The Stampeders totalled 623 yards on offence to Winnipeg’s 290 and earned twice as many first downs at 28.
“Sometimes you have a bad day,” Bombers coach Tim Burke said. “I think talent-wise, they have the best offence in the league. We weren’t very assignment-sharp against the run and then we missed a bunch of tackles.”
The Stampeders finished 7-1 against East Division opponents this regular season. Calgary’s remaining games are in the West Division and those games will determine playoff positions.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions, both 9-5, have already secured playoff berths along with Calgary. The Stampeders host the Lions on Friday followed by games against the Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan and the Lions again in the finale.
“We knew the last month of the season was going to be for all the marbles,” Calgary head coach John Hufnagel said. “It’s nice going into that four-game stretch with a two-game lead, but anything can happen over the next month.
“We play good football teams and we have to get ready to play good football week in and week out, which will help us get ready for playoff football.”
Blue Bombers defensive end Alex Hall and Calgary counterparts Charleston Hughes and Cordarro Law ranked first to third in the league in sacks respectively, but Law recorded the only one of the game.
Paredes, the CFL’s special teams player of the month for September, was good from 46, 14 and 35 yards in the game. DeAngelis missed an attempt from 48 yards in third quarter, but made a 15-yarder in the first quarter.
The Stampeders led 25-4 at the half. The first of two Cornish majors was a 50-yard dash to score in the opening quarter.
He credited the return of receiver Joe West, which added to Calgary’s offensive weapons, as well as an offensive line determined not to get beaten by Winnipeg’s front four.
“I really think the offensive line made it easy for me and that in turn makes it look easy,” Cornish said.
West played his first game since July 20 because of a separated shoulder. He led the Stampeders in receptions in the game with eight for 120 yards.
Winnipeg moves to the West Division next season when the Ottawa Redblacks join the CFL. The Blue Bombers haven’t won at McMahon since 2002 and fell to 9-20 versus the Stampeders since 2000.
Notes: Jon Cornish’s previous career high for rushing yards in a single game was 185 against Edmonton last year . . . The last CFL running back to rush for over 200 yards in a game was B.C.’s Martell Mallett for 213 on Sept. 4, 2009 against Montreal . . . Calgary’s Derrius Brooks prevented a Winnipeg touchdown in the first quarter by hauling down Ford. Brooks also had an interception in the second half.