Blink's the boss

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

They toed the line and came out swinging.

With the heavyweight belt on the line, Calgary challenger Joffrey Reynolds had his last chance to deliver the final blows when he faced Winnipeg's defending champion Charles Roberts at Canad Inns Stadium last night.

Reynolds entered the match leading the CFL in rushing with 1,467 yards on 244 carries with Roberts on his heels with 264 rushes for 1,409 yards. It was, however, the final regular-season game for Reynolds while Roberts still has another left.

But when the final bell rang, Roberts had already successfully defended his rushing crown -- his third in the last four years. He also took a giant step towards getting the nod as the Eastern MVP.

Roberts finished with 151 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries while Reynolds, who rushed for 162 yards the last time the two played, was held to 74 yards on 15 rushes.

"It feels good," said Roberts. "The rushing title is what I wanted, I got it and I'm satisfied ...

"Joffrey had an amazing season. He stuck around to the end and I give him a lot of credit for that. My belief is that it should have been over weeks ago. He had a good season and I'm proud of it because he stuck in there and he helped to carry his team to a playoff year also."

His Bomber teammates certainly enjoyed the dramatics.

"What better stage could you have than the two guys up for the rushing title to play in the same game and to contain one and let one loose?" said defensive back Kelly Malveaux. "That was a tremendous effort by the O-line to get him the yards that he got."

While Reynolds may finish with a better average, Roberts has been playing behind an injury-riddled O-line all season.

"They deserve something special and I'm going to come through for them," Roberts said.

"It's my first rushing title and it feels great," said former Ottawa centre Obby Khan. "Considering the obstacles we had to go through this year, the offensive line played exceptionally well and we're getting better.

"We told the coaches we wanted to put the ball on our shoulders and we wanted to run (last night), and the coaches let us do it."

The Bomber defence also played its part.

"It was great that we could help him claim a title he deserved this year and finally put to rest that big debate between which back is tops," said defensive lineman Doug Brown.

"It wasn't really a big deal to me," Reynolds told The Canadian Press. "You don't have to have the most yards to be considered the best."

And he still believes he's the best.

"I most definitely do," he affirmed.

Roberts has now rushed for 1,500 yards in four straight seasons.


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