RBs chase rushing title

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Sure, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats both need to win tonight's game because of the playoff implications, but there's a CFL rushing title to be won.

And the two remaining contenders will go mano-a-mano tonight on the Stadium turf.

Winnipeg's Charles Roberts leads the loop with 1,223 yards on 247 carries, while Hamilton's Troy Davis has 1,211 yards on 242 attempts. Roberts, however, has played one more game than Davis, so he has some catching up to do.

"I don't know how interested he is in winning the rushing title, but I'm very interested," Roberts said yesterday. "It'll be a good game."

We're not sure exactly how interested Davis is because he doesn't speak to the media. Even when he rushed for 233 yards on Labour Day against the Toronto Argonauts, he bolted before reporters could give him the opportunity to bask in the glow.

One of his offensive lineman, however, was more than willing to let the public know just how Davis, 29, feels about the rushing crown.

"It's extremely important to him," Ticats centre Carl Coulter said. "A lot of the reason is he hasn't gotten a lot of accolades. He finished third last year on a 1-17 team, and he was up there the year before that, too. The guy's done it in NCAA, he's done it everywhere he's gone and he deserves some accolades.

"He's probably one of the lowest paid backs in the league, but pound for pound ... he's the toughest guy in the CFL."

Davis also knows, according to Coulter, exactly where he sits among the league's rushing leaders at all times.

"He says 'I need 12 yards on my first carry to get it even and then we'll go from there,'" Coulter said. "Every week he comes in and says 'That guy's up by 11,' or 'I got him by 15.' He knows. And you can't help but get excited about that, when a guy comes in and says 'OK, let's go,' and when he gets pissed when he doesn't get the ball.

"We gotta get him the ball 20 or 25 times a game and let him do his stuff."

The Bombers are 17-0, including the playoffs, when Roberts, 25, tops the 100-yard mark, so that's what he's shooting for tonight -- not topping Davis.

"I don't need to out-perform him, man, I need to win a game," Roberts said. "... We definitely need a win. I need that 100 yards to help us get that win. I need a big outing.

"I can't predict, man, but I feel like I'm prepared for it."

Roberts said he and Davis have met and are "good friends" who are enjoying some healthy competition.

"He's a good guy, a good running back," Roberts said, "and hopefully he's just a little bit worse than me."

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CHARLES ROBERTS VS. TROY DAVIS

Here are the career head-to-head meetings between Winnipeg's Charles Roberts and Hamilton's Troy Davis, who are first and second, respectively, in CFL rushing going into tonight's clash at Canad Inn Stadium. Carries, yards and touchdowns are in parentheses:

DAVIS SCORE ROBERTS

2001

July 26 at Ham (0-0-0) 24-19 Ham (5-24-0)

Aug. 16 at Ham DNP 20-17 Wpg (7-37-0)

Sept. 8 at Wpg (5-23-1) 63-31 Wpg (11-92-0)

Oct. 14 at Wpg (6-22-0) 24-17 Wpg (9-41-0)

Nov. 18 at Wpg (19-101-0) 28-13 Wpg (9-49-0)

2002

July 5 at Wpg (11-37-0) 24-15 Wpg (21-76-0)

Oct. 27 at Ham (9-30-0) 28-7 Wpg (12-37-0)

2003

Aug. 2 at Ham (10-13-1) 37-20 Wpg (21-151-0)

Oct. 10 at Wpg (9-58-0) 14-9 Wpg (16-118-0)

2004

June 25 at Ham (9-9-1) 32-22 Ham (15-36-1)

TOTALS (59-192-3) (117-612-1)


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