Reynolds breaks out

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

It's not easy being Green -- or Greene for that matter. At least not last night.

Some 12,000 well-lubricated, watermelon-wearing Roughriders fans who poured into McMahon Stadium staggered home dejected (not to mention a little green around the gills) after Saskatchewan's 44-18 thrashing at the hands of the Stampeders.

And their quarterback, Nealon Greene, stomped off the turf a little downcast, too, after losing his QB grudge match with Stampeders pivot Henry Burris, his former teammate in Regina.

But it was the brilliant 60 minutes of work from Stampeders tailback Joffrey Reynolds that was just as impressive and sealed the Roughies' fate.

Reynolds entered the game sporting a 6.3-yard average with 244 yards on just 39 carries, underused through the first three games by most accounts.

That all changed last night as the Stampeders attacked the battered Roughies defensive line -- statistically the toughest this season against the run -- a unit that obviously missed injured mainstays Nate Davis and Daved Benefield.

Reynolds picked up 66 yards on nine first-half carries but was almost unstoppable in the final 30 minutes. Before the night was over, he had piled up 150 yards rushing on 18 carries while also snagging a five-yard TD pass.

It was the 13th-best rushing performance in Stampeders history, reminiscent of the 189-yard night Reynolds posted last fall in Toronto.

Lining up in the backfield alongside Ronney Jenkins, they proved a powerful combination. Jenkins, also a threat as a receiver, only made three carries but picked up 25 yards while Burris scrambled seven times for another 42.

"We had Ronney in at the same time and we could run or pass off that, so it kept them off balance," said Reynolds, who arrived in Calgary for the final five games of last season.

"We blocked it up and that left us man-on-man for me and I beat my man ...

"As a running back, you want to get in the rhythm of the game. The more touches you get, the more comfortable you feel. I was just happy they wanted to establish the run."

For head coach Tom Higgins, Reynolds' powerful performance was affirmation his tailback has the potential to develop into one of the league's best.

"He is a dynamic runner," said Higgins, who's bound to heap more work on Reynolds throughout this season.

"He has a lean that he's always going towards the goal-line. He's a classy back. He's one of those guys who's a gamer. He is truly a guy who shines when the lights come on."

Stopped in the backfield late in the third quarter, Reynolds fought off a pair of tacklers dodging and darting his way for a six-yard gain, typical of his workhorse effort.

It was the kind of ball control the Stampeders needed in light of the offence's struggles, although the team also found many of the answers to that mystery.

What's wrong with the offence?

Nothing, if last night's performance is an honest indication.

Coaches say it matters not where a team is in July, only how it progresses through the season and into the autumn.

As the clock ticked down, Calgary had posted 504 yards total offence. Yet it was the balance of 225 yards rushing and 302 passing that impressed most.

It was the kind of attack the coaching staff and players had promised. And last night they delivered.


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