Joff-ensive force leads charge

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

Handing the ball off to Joffrey Reynolds on Hamilton's one-yard line, Henry Burris turned and simply ran back to the bench.

Didn't even glance back to see if Reynolds found the endzone.

He just knew.

He made the same move early in the second half and then again late in the third quarter. Both times the crowd confirmed seconds later the league's leading rusher -- yes, you read that right -- had indeed hit paydirt again. And again.

That's how easy it was for the Calgary Stampeders offence last night against a Hamilton Tiger-Cats team that would likely be in tough against the University of Calgary Dinos.

"I pretty much just let the crowd tell me," smiled Burris when asked about his blind faith, of sorts, in Reynolds.

"I pretty much saw that hole and knew Joffrey would make the guy miss. No need to look."

By night's end, the quiet running back had made a lot of guys miss en route to his first three-touchdown game. This to go with his 96 yards on 11 carries, vaulting him ahead of Jesse Lumsden for the league rushing lead.

Capping off a week in which all the talk was about the Canadian crusher who stayed in Hamilton with a knee injury, Reynolds seized the moment to remind everyone he's once again part of an offence that will allow him to challenge for his first rushing title.

And he can do that because, for the first time in years, it appears the Stamps have pieced together a complete game plan that allows the ball to be spread so well no team will be able to key on No. 21. Or stop him.

"As a player, you always want to showcase your talent and show you're the best at your position, but you want to compete against the best," said Reynolds, 28, who entered the game 85 yards behind the oft-injured Lumsden.

"Jesse is an exceptional player and, especially for Canadian people, it's exciting to see one of their own do well. I just wanted to compete and show my talent for my team."

Still a few solid games away from passing James Sykes for fifth all-time among Stamps rushers, the fifth-year pro eclipsed the career 5,000-yard mark early on an evening that saw him score the first major on a tantalizing 13-yard dash.

"I really didn't know about the 5,000 mark until last week, so I just wanted to get that out of the way," said Reynolds, who is averaging 6.3 yards per carry this year.

"Everything was going right tonight -- the pass game set up the run, the offensive line came off and kind of had them on their heels and when you've got that going, it's kind of hard to cover everybody."

Make no mistake, as brilliant as Reynolds, Burris and 125-yard gainer Nik Lewis were in the 43-16 whitewash, it was the home side's defence that set the table for this one.

The pressure Chris Jones' defensive unit put on the Ticats' only weapon -- Casey Printers -- made this one a laugher.

Not only did it take more than a quarter for the Tabbies to move the first-yard chains for the first time, but by the end of the half, they had only been able to accrue 98 yards of net offence.

Reynolds almost reached that total by himself, pushing his touchdown total to five on the season and tying him for seventh all-time in Stamps lore with quarterback Jeff Garcia at 26.

"He was a runaway train sometimes, and that was good to see," said coach John Hufnagel, who has done well to ensure Reynolds is utilized effectively this year.

"Obviously, the more often we can see that type of play, the better off we'll be offensively."

So once again, while Burris improved on his league-leading numbers, battling stiff winds to complete 26 of 33 passes for 345 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, today's headlines belong to several others.

Then again, Burris may decide not to look anyway.


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