Big day for Esks Cornell

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 PM ET

EDMONTON - Eskimos rookie linebacker Mike Cornell found two reasons to celebrate Saturday.

Cornell knew he was going get his first-ever CFL start due to Rod Harris’s hamstring injury in Hamilton last week.

Getting a chance to play against the B.C. Lions was impressive enough for the former Ottawa Gee-Gees star.

Late in the game, Cornell’s name was flashed on the Commonwealth scoreboard when he was named No. 3 player of the game in a fan tweet.

“I was a little surprised that I even got a vote,” said Cornell. “Somebody pointed it out to me on the sidelines. I looked up and when I saw it up there, I was kinda surprised.”

In the second quarter, Cornell put another feather in his cap.

He somehow got through B.C.’s special-teams blocking and got his hand on a Paul McCallum punt to score a deflection.

The punt only travelled six yards and helped set up a 21-yard Damon Duval field goal after the Eskimos took possession on the Lions’ 34- yard line.

“We ran our punt-block scheme,” said Cornell. “One of our guys was down, so I went in. I threw my hands up and the ball hit me. It was kind of lucky.”

Cornell had a few blocks during his school and college career.

“Yeah, I had a few back then ... but nothing like this,” said the 24-year-old, who spent his first CFL campaign in Calgary. “This is my first one as a pro.”

All in all, it was a day for Cornell to remember.

“Victory, start and a blocked punt,” said Cornell. “We played well.”

Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed was happy for the kid.

“The guy got an opportunity,” said Reed.

“He was a young man looking for a job in the off-season. We were fortunate to get him, and he’s taken advantage of the opportunities he’s getting by playing hard, smart football.”

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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