Record year in CFL?

IAN BUSBY, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:50 PM ET

The CFL has ‘returned’ to excitement in what could be a season filled with thrills and record-breaking moments.

Not only was the Saskatchewan Roughriders overtime victory over the Montreal Alouettes the highest scoring opener in league history, the 54-51 classic came in as the third-highest scoring game off all-time.

The entertainment didn’t stop there.

Hamilton’s Marcus Thigpen took back a missed field goal 118 yards for a touchdown after getting an opening-play kickoff return major.

There was only one kickoff-return major in 2009, but it also come in Week 1 as Calgary’s Titus Ryan accomplished the feat.

In 2009, there were only seven return TDs the entire season, but already there are four this season, and the best part is they are from players new to their teams.

Chad Owens took a punt back 90 yards to prove the Toronto Argonauts did the right thing in getting him from the Montreal Alouettes for a fourth-round pick.

And Tim Maypray is making Als fans forget about Larry Taylor’s NFL tryout with a 125-yard missed field-goal return of his own.

There are few big records that could be set this campaign.

Before the season started, Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo needed 40 TD passes to tie Damon Allen and he’s off to a great start with four against the Riders.

Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds entered 2010 just 756 yards behind Kelvin Anderson for the franchise rushing yardage record. After getting 117 against the Argos, Reynolds needs 391 yards to pass Tracy Ham for 10th on the all-time list, and if the reigning West Division most outstanding player equals his 2009 season of 1,500 yards, he would move into seventh all-time past Norm Kwong.

But the most interesting record race will be all-time receiving yards between Montreal’s Ben Cahoon and B.C.’s Geroy Simon.

Cahoon entered the season with 12,598, while Simon started at 12,532 and it will be a sprint to pass Ray Elgaard’s 13,198. The two veterans will surely be one-two by season’s end, but Simon needs 66 more yards this season to take the top spot.

After that, it will be a matter of who hangs ’em up first.

Opening drive

Wally Buono doesn’t sign too many veteran CFLers, but it should be no surprise he opted for free agent Jamal Robertson. The former Argos running back was actually brought into the league by Buono when he was coaching the Stampeders in 2001. Robertson earned a Grey Cup ring that season but went to the NFL and didn’t become a CFL starter until going to Toronto in 2008. In his debut with the Lions, the 33-year-old set a career high with 168 rushing yards … The Roughriders made all six of their two-point converts last season — nearly getting to Montreal’s record of eight in 1984 — and they are already perfect on one this season … A total of 16 of the 45 draft picks this season made a CFL roster. The Stamps lead with four, while the Bombers and Lions have three each. The Argos have two, while the Eskimos, Tiger-Cats and Riders have one and the Alouettes zero.

Endzone toss

There is no question the Riders succeed in close games. Since the start of 2008, Saskatchewan had 20 of its 37 regular-season games decided by eight points or less. With a three-point overtime win this year, the Riders are 13-6-1 … The Stamps were far and away the most efficient red-zone team in 2009 with 67% of their 66 chances converted to TDs to exceed the league-wide average of 55%. In the opener against Toronto, the Stamps went inside the 20 four times but came away with one major … Eskimos QB Ricky Ray needs one rushing TD to tie Tracy Ham on the franchise record list but with third-stringer Jared Zabransky doing all the short yardage, he may not get it for a while.

Extra points

Toronto hasn’t won in a West Division city since Nov 3, 2007 at Regina … Argos SB Jeremaine Copeland needs 1,257 yards to reach 10,000 in his career, but he’s off to a slow start with 40 yards in the opener, plus a fumble … Paul MacCallum has made 18 straight field goals in the regular season — 23 including playoffs — dating back to July 10, 2009, and he’s firmly taken control of the kicking job from sophomore Sean Whyte … Marc Trestman is the second-winningest current head coach in the CFL with 26 wins behind Wally Buono’s 236. Calgary’s John Hufnagel is third with 24.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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