Canadian backs having strong year

Calgary Stampeders RB, Jon Cornish during practice at McMahon stadium in Calgary.  Thursday October...

Calgary Stampeders RB, Jon Cornish during practice at McMahon stadium in Calgary. Thursday October 4 2012. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:07 AM ET

VANCOUVER — Jon Cornish and Andrew Harris started this season with a few things in common, but that list keeps growing.

 

The two players both play running back, have the same birth certificate and now are equally crucial to their teams’ success the rest of the year.

So the final part of the season could boil down to this: Whoever performs better in head-to-head meetings, starting Saturday night at B.C. Place Stadium, could get the upperhand in securing the league’s top Canadian title.

“I never thought about it, but it’s a possibility,” said Cornish, the Calgary Stampeders running back who leads the CFL in rushing yardage.

“If you want to take my entire season’s performance and boil it down to three games against the B.C. Lions, so be it. Honestly, I’ve taken some criticism — not from anybody that matters — that I only have big performances against weak teams. I look forward to seeing how I do against the best team.”

What is foremost on Cornish’s mind is avenging a Week 5 loss to the Lions (9-5) that was his worst game this season by a country mile.

When Cornish is chewing up yardage, the Stampeders offence hums along nicely, and the goal will be the same against the Lions as anybody else.

In Vancouver, Harris hasn’t had the same rollercoaster season as Cornish has had, but it’s been an impressive one for the 25-year-old Winnipeg native. With 1,419 yards from scrimmage, Harris is the focal point of the Lions, especially now that leading receivers Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce are out due to injury.

At this point in time, the voting could go either way for most outstanding Canadian in the West Division and whoever takes that will be a shoo-in for the league title.

Harris would rather take care of what he can control, which is securing first place.

“Those awards don’t mean too much to me,” Harris said. “Obviously I would like to win. He’s having a great season and I’m having a great season. However the votes may lay, that’s how it goes.

“It’s all about getting the wins. Having that bye in the first week of the playoffs is the most important thing.”

Last week when Cornish went over 1,000 yards with a 180-yard rushing outing against the Edmonton Eskimos, Harris sent along his congratulations over Twitter.

Cornish responded by saying he was looking forward to Harris joining him in Canadian 1,000-yard club of which eight are members.

The two couldn’t have more different styles though and routes to get there. Cornish went to a big college (Kansas) and was a high draft pick. Harris went the junior route before signing as a free agent.

While Harris has speed and the ability to juke foes, Cornish can run defenders over. So when asked what Cornish asset Harris would like, Harris’ answer was simple.

“I would like to be more powerful,” Harris said. “He’s a more powerful and he’s a bit bigger than me. That would be the one thing I wish I had more. I’m getting it a bit more. He has a couple of years on me. When I have a couple more years, maybe I get a big stronger.”

Cornish was posed with the same question: What part of Harris’ skillset would you like?

“His ability to get open in passing routes,” Cornish said. “He’s a great route runner.  


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