League's running wild

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The CFL has long been thought of as a passing league, and that's basically still true.

But if the pace keeps going over the next five weeks, there will be a unique rushing mark set. For the first time in history, every CFL team could boast a 1,000-yard rusher and the millennium club could have a record eight members.

What's even more special about this season is two of those running backs weren't starters for their teams out of training camp.

Arkee Whitlock took over for Jesse Lumsden as the No.-1 man in Edmonton after the former went out with a shoulder injury. DeAndra Cobb was way down the depth chart with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before injuries forced a great debut against the B.C. Lions in Week 2.

It will take some luck obviously for this record to happen. Saskatchewan's Wes Cates missed the first two weeks of the season with an injury and then was slow to get going with only 65 yards in his first two outings.

The biggest surprise has to be Lions first-year player Martell Mallett, who leads the CFL with 1,086 yards through 13 games. Montreal's Avon Cobourne, Winnipeg's Fred Reid and Calgary's Joffrey Reynolds have been reliable for their teams and have already surpassed 1,000 yards, which is already the most players to do it since 2006.

The CFL record of six 1,000-yard runners was set four times (1994, 2000, 2004-05). It will take some great running in the final stretch for this record to fall, but that seems to be the trend this season for offences.

Obviously, with rushing up, passing is down. There are only 11 players are on pace for 1,000 yards receiving this season and no one has hit the mark yet in 13 weeks, while only one quarterback (Anthony Calvillo) is on pace for 5,000 yards passing.

Opening drive

Dating back a month, the Stampeders offence hasn't been clicking, and it goes further than just having some receiver injuries. Although the running game is going well with Joffrey Reynolds, Stamps QB Henry Burris has a 57.1 passer rating in the past three games. Despite the struggles, the Stamps have won four of the past five games, which is scary if they start putting it together ... How much has not having to punt affected Blue Bombers K Alexis Serna this season? Doing both duties last year, Serna had a 66.7% percentage, which was last in the CFL among full-time kickers. This season, he tops the league (87.1%) with Mike Renaud doing the punting ... There was an odd bit of confusion for Ticats QB Quinton Porter after he was stripped of the ball against the Stamps. Porter started jogging off the field with the Stamps defence before getting close to the sideline and realizing he was headed to the wrong bench. Almost like he didn't want to face his coach.

Endzone toss

Just in case SB Paris Jackson is injured too much to play this week, the Lions have brought back some insurance in the form of Bret Anderson. The 13-year veteran retired before the season started. Jackson, who left the win over the Roughriders with a knee sprain, was impressed with the toughness of QB Buck Pierce. The pivot told his teammates the Riders wouldn't knock him from the game no matter what. Pierce was pounded but stayed in. "Right there it brought confidence to our team," Jackson said. "This was the most vocal I've seen him. We've been waiting for him to step up and be a leader."

Extra point

Congrats to Cam Wake for his three sacks against the Buffalo Bills. The former B.C. Lions defensive end could well be a star for the Miami Dolphins and make the CFL look good.

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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