Stamps' Cornish back to old ways

Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish carries the ball late in the second half against the...

Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish carries the ball late in the second half against the Hamilton Tiger-cats in their CFL football game in Hamilton August 9, 2012.(REUTERS)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

CALGARY - The CFL gave Jon Cornish a big thumbs up for his performance last week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Calgary Stampeders running back is just happy he can reply to double player of the week honours with the same motion.

Following a loss at home to the B.C. Lions on July 28, Cornish said he was battling injury all season but fighting through it. The comment came during a rant against his offensive line.

It turns out a bye week helped heal what ailed the 27-year-old's hand and thumb.

In the pre-season opener against the Edmonton Eskimos, Cornish came up pushing and shoving after getting out of a pile.

He damaged his hand to the point where pushing off defenders became difficult.

During his first game back off the bye, Cornish looked like his old self, piling up 217 yards from scrimmage in a dominating outing that earned him offensive and Canadian player of the week awards Tuesday.

"It was stupid, but that's the way she goes," Cornish said about the injury. "I strong-armed a guy in the facemask. It basically disabled my arm's usage for the next six weeks. Literally, I couldn't bend my finger.

"The thing I did during the bye week that helped a lot was write a lot. It feels good. Now, it's nearly 100%. I was really favouring it. I was blocking people with one hand. It wasn't ideal."

In the loss to the Lions, Cornish hit rock bottom, getting minus-1 yard on six carries, as he was constantly getting tackled before he could hit the hole.

Against the Ticats, he was able to push defenders back and use his power to get extra yards. His 170-yard rushing game was a career best.

But getting healthy wasn't the only difference for the trip to Hamilton.

"I messed around with my pre-game routine," Cornish said. "I went back to my one from last year. This year, I incorporated meditation into my pre-game routine.

"I felt that was making me thoughtful. It makes you feel a bit more. The kind of meditation I practice, it's not ideal for football.

"Football is a bust-em-up game. I have to find a legit meditation coach before I go back to it. I will probably stay away from meditation the rest of the season."

Cornish wasn't the only Stampeder recognized for his outing against the Ticats. Returner Larry Taylor was named the special teams player of the week for his 172 return yards that gave the Stamps constant field position.

But Cornish was the main star, especially after he chewed up clock in the fourth quarter.

He looked much like did late last year when he rushed for 611 yards in seven starts after taking over for Joffrey Reynolds.

His face looked similar to then, too, as Cornish emerged from the time off with a goatee. Can't shave that off now, right?

"I wouldn't say this is lucky but it's something I will roll with," Cornish said. "We will keep it around for a while.

"Last year, during the semifinal, I had the full beard. Maybe the beard is the luck.

"It's a little reminder when you look in the mirror. It's football time."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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