Cornish confident things will rebound

This year it’s Andrew Harris becoming the poster-boy for Canadian running backs.

This year it’s Andrew Harris becoming the poster-boy for Canadian running backs.

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:58 PM ET

A Canadian running back is experiencing a huge breakout season and is currently leading the CFL in yards from scrimmage.

Gotta be Jon Cornish, right?

Wrong. Just like a year ago when Cornish’s explosive first few starts were overshadowed by Jerome Messam’s run to 1,000 yards for the Edmonton Eskimos, the Calgary Stampeders tailback isn’t hogging the spotlight for homegrown rushers.

This time it’s Andrew Harris becoming the poster-boy for Canadian running backs. The third-year B.C. Lion has 536 yards from scrimmage in four games to lead the CFL. His 240 receiving yards put him 12th overall and second on the Lions.

How does Cornish feel about it, especially after an off-season of hype about what the Kansas product could do in a full season?

He’s happy for Harris, even if he’s tied for 17th in yards from scrimmage and has a 4.2-yard rushing average.

“He’s Canadian, so it’s empowering,” Cornish said. “I wouldn’t even call this a slow start (for me).

“The first four games of the CFL season normally don’t tell you anything about the ending. The Lions started 0-4 last year.

“These things can start off one way and end a different way.”

The two players will go head to head Saturday night at McMahon Stadium when the Lions kickoff against the Stamps.

When they met as starters for the first time late last season, Cornish came out on top. It was Cornish’s third start after taking over for Joffrey Reynolds, and he piled up 49 yards on nine carries and 15 yards on two catches.

Harris had 10 yards on six rushes, although he did have a TD, but another 21 on four receptions.

In 2011, Harris had a 4.8-yard rushing average and Cornish had a 7.9-yard mark. This year, those numbers are virtually reversed, but Cornish isn’t worried — yet.

“It’s still at 4.2 and I’ve been getting crushed the past few games,” Cornish said about averaging 3.6-yards per carry against the Montreal Alouettes and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I’m not worried about it in the least. It requires two good games of my normal output to bring it back up.”

Heading into the season, there were high expectations for Cornish based on the final seven games of last season and his outstanding playoff outing in which he rushed for 127 yards on 14 carries. Maybe there was too much hype. That’s a theory from Stamps middle linebacker Juwan Simpson.

“When you get that much publicity in the off-season, with Joffrey Reynolds gone now and Jon being the premier running back, that’s all everybody talks about,” Simpson said.

“We all know he had an excellent year ... Guys are keying in on him and he’s not able to catch guys by surprise. It’s a little harder for him. He’s a heck of a worker and it is still early in the season. I expect him to break off some big runs through the remainder of the season.”

 


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