Stampeders' Cornish gunning to run against Roughriders

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:27 AM ET

CALGARY - Maybe Corey Chamblin was appealing to the nice guy in Jon Cornish, so that he doesn’t have to be the ‘ice’ guy.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach does know Cornish well from his three seasons in Calgary, so he knows the Stampeders running back doesn’t want to see anyone lose their job.

Certainly, Cornish doesn’t want to be the reason for someone getting cut. So on Sunday when Cornish gets to 99 yards, he will probably stop running, right?

That way Chamblin won’t have to hold his word and cut somebody because of a guarantee he made on Wednesday.

“When you make guarantees, being an honourable man, you have to follow through on them,” Cornish said. “Unfortunately, he made one that will negatively affect someone if the contingency is failed.

“Would I stop at 99? I’m not good at keeping track of where I’m at numerically.”

Clearly Chamblin is trying anything to motivate his defence. The last time the Stamps went into Regina, Cornish blasted through the Riders’ defensive front for 159 yards.

Even when the Riders stacked the box, the 27-year-old was able to gain positive yardage.

“If you watched our last game there, because it was such windy conditions, the only way they could put more people in the box is if they used their fans,” Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said.

“When you play the Calgary Stampeders, one of the areas you want a make a point with your football team is stopping the run. We’ve been a good rushing team since I came on board.”

There is no hotter player in the CFL over the past six games than Cornish, who has vaulted himself into top spot in the league rushing race.

Three times, Cornish has hit the 100-yard mark and just kept going, topping 150 each time.

Still, he’s a bit taken aback by being called out as a focal point.

“When the coach says something like that, it’s rather unprecedented,” Cornish said. “As a player, you have to respond as you would to anybody talking, with play on the field.

“I would be happy with five yards if we get the win. In the face of a challenge, all great athletes rise to the occasion.

“It’s hard to respond to that. I just want to play. If you want to make me the subject of the media, that’s fine. I just like responding on the field.”

It’s not like Cornish was dominant in both meetings against the Riders this season. In Week 4, it was Nik Lewis who devastated the visiting Roughriders with three TDs in a 41-38 overtime thriller.

The Stamps would like to think they can beat a team on the ground or in the air.

“If they want to stack the box and blitz us, go ahead,” quarterback Kevin Glenn said. “We have some receivers that can go up and get it.”

Maybe Chamblin is confident his defence has changed since Calgary’s last trip to Regina.

Right after that meeting, the Riders signed middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn after his failed bid to stick with the Stamps this summer.

Since Lobendahn came on board, the Riders are much better against ground attacks, but that doesn’t worry Cornish either.

“I got to have a full camp against Joe,” Cornish said. “One of the things that is most important about playing football is knowing your opponent. I got to know him pretty well. He’s a great dude and a ferocious tackler. I look forward to playing against him.”


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