Reynolds set to run over Esks and into history

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:05 PM ET

Barring an unforeseen injury, it's likely the Edmonton Eskimos defence will be part of Joffrey Reynolds' all-time highlight package.

With two games this week against the Eskimos and only 135 yards to pass Kelvin Anderson, the durable Reynolds has a chance to set the franchise's all-time rushing record during the Battle of Alberta.

That is, of course, unless the Eskimos defence decides they would rather not be part of history starting Monday at McMahon Stadium during the Labour Day Classic (4 p.m., TSN).

Back in 2004, the Stamps did just that against the Eskimos and Mike Pringle.

Pringle was headed towards the CFL's all-time rushing mark during the back-half of the Labour Day doubleheader.

Instead of celebrating at Commonwealth Stadium, the Stamps defence flooded the box and made sure it didn't happen.

"We had it as a main goal," said Stamps safety Wes Lysack. "We were the same as Edmonton now and were struggling. We could play well defensively but didn't have a great won-loss record. We put a lot of attention on it and we stopped him.

"Any time over the course of my carer, when somebody has the opportunity to get a record, whether individually or as a team, you never want it to happen against you. This is similar to when you used to play the old Hamilton Tiger-Cats. You never wanted to be the one team they beat.

"I would imagine they want to stop him. The difficult is actually doing it."

Despite splitting more carries with Jon Cornish this season, Reynolds is still his usual consistent self, rushing for 621 yards on 101 carries in eight games.

His average per game is about 77, and if he sticks to it would top Anderson during Friday's rematch in Edmonton.

But the Eskimos have the worst rush defence in the CFL this season, allowing 154.4 yards per game.

If there is a repeat of the last meeting, when the Stamps won 56-15, expect the home side to give Reynolds the opportunity to set it at home.

"I think the best thing for us against Joffrey is just make sure that nobody tries to be a Superman," said Eskimos middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd.

"Just take care of the little things, and that's staying in our gap and making sure tackles."

Reynolds broke into the CFL late in 2004, and the Texan's presence immediately solidified the running back position that was in flux for almost two seasons.

In 2003, the Stamps under new head coach Jim Barker cut Anderson in favour for NFL bad boy Lawrence Phillips.

From 1996-2002, Anderson put up seven 1,000-yard seasons for the Stamps. He hit that mark again for the B.C. Lions in 2003 before retiring.

Reynolds has often been compared with Anderson for durability and consistency, but he never believed he would pass his in numbers.

"When I came here, I saw the amount of 1,000-yard seasons he had, and I thought holy smoke, I will never get there," Reynolds said.

"That is being a consistently good player. In pro sports, whether it's injury, trading or bringing in your replacement, it's hard to reach those marks.

"It came up on me fast. People started talking about it during this off-season.

"Now it's finally here. It's good to get in the midst of that on a team doing as well as we are right now."

When Reynolds does get the record, don't expect a huge celebration.

The best way to describe the 30-year-old is low key, and nothing should change when he runs into the record books.

"Somebody will have to tell him because he won't notice it when he does it," said receiver and good friend Nik Lewis.

"They will have to make a big deal of it. He will get the ball, smile and go on to the next play."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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