Rampaging Roberts

Bomber running back Charles Roberts knows that once teammate Milt Stegall achieves the all-time CFL...

Bomber running back Charles Roberts knows that once teammate Milt Stegall achieves the all-time CFL record for most touchdowns, the focus will turn to his pursuit. (Sun File/Brian Donogh)

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

There must be something about black and gold that brings out the best in Charles Roberts.

The Winnipeg tailback wracked up a total of 312 yards rushing in three games against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last season. In fact, Roberts has gained a total of 823 yards along the ground in nine games against the Tabbies over the last four years -- a 91.4-yard average.

And guess who's coming to dinner on Friday?

"Some teams, you just do better against," Roberts said yesterday. "Some teams pay more attention to the pass than the run. I don't know if that's Hamilton's case but I have had some good games against them.

"But that (312 yards) was last year. The defence looked to me, on film, pretty good (against B.C.) last week. I'm not going into this game saying I'm going to rush for 100 yards just because last year, I averaged over 100 yards over three games. They've got a completely different team, No. 1. No. 2, they're real hungry now."

Although the Tiger-Cats gave B.C. all it could handle last week, they still lost and remain in last place in the CFL East at 0-4.

Meanwhile, Roberts rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries against Montreal last week to not only maintain his lead atop the CFL rushing race but to move 429 yards closer to becoming the leading Bomber ground-gainer of all time.

"I'd better get it this year," said Roberts, 28. "If I don't get it done this year, it might be time for me to retire, man. It would mean a whole lot (but) it would be a relief ... to get it out of the way, get focused on the rest of the season and put ourselves in a playoff position."

Roberts knows that once teammate Milt Stegall achieves the all-time CFL record for most touchdowns, the focus will turn to his pursuit.

And with a sixth straight 1,000-yard season, Roberts could also move into sixth spot on the CFL's all-time rushing list.

But Roberts predicted that Stegall will get his record first -- "unless I go out and bust a hole in Hamilton this week.

"I hope he does do it first; he's been waiting a little longer than I have. It would be good for both of us to get it this season -- with the Grey Cup."

The 5-foot-6, 182-pound Sacramento State product has rushed for 342 yards and a league-leading six touchdowns on 67 lugs to date and is positioned to win his third straight rushing title.

SOONER OR LATER

"I know I lead the league but I haven't had a big game, rushing-wise, yet," Roberts said. "I'm pretty excited about that fact because I know it's going to come sooner or later. But until then, I'll keep pounding it out for the 90 yards here, 90 yards there. As soon as I can get 100 yards rolling around, it will be good."

Roberts, who has 32 100-yard rushing games, needs five more to move into third on the CFL's all-time list. And despite his size, Roberts has proven to be one of the CFL's most durable backs who is often called upon to run the ball right up the gut.

"It's a real big mental thing," he said. "Sometimes, when you get hurt and go down like I did in the (Montreal) game, you think you're more hurt than you really are. I was still able to walk and run pretty well. It's still kind of tender but it's coming around. I know by Friday that I will be 100% again.

"I've been injured more times than you know over my career but, as long as I can play and not hurt the team, then I'm going to play regardless of how much pain I'm in."

TABBIES TAMER

Charles Roberts' rushing totals versus Hamilton the last four years:

2006

-Roberts rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries as Winnipeg won 29-22.

Roberts was held to 79 yards on 12 rushes as Hamilton downed Winnipeg 26-11.

-Roberts rambled for 129 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries as Winnipeg whipped the Tiger-Cats 29-0.

2005

Although the Blue Bombers blasted Hamilton 44-14, Roberts was held to 39 yards on 15 rushes.

In the second meeting, Roberts rushed for 85 yards on 17 carries as Hamilton clipped the Bombers 41-39.

2004

Roberts was held to 36 yards and one TD on 15 carries as Hamilton beat the Bombers 32-22.

Roberts rushed for 82 yards when Winnipeg fell 20-13 to the Tiger-Cats.

2003

-Roberts rushed for 151 yards on 21 carries as the Bombers beat Hamilton 37-20.

-Roberts had 118 yards on only 16 rushes as Winnipeg clipped the 'Cats 14-9.

-Denotes games of 100 yards or more rushing.


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