York's Johnson spectacular

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

It's not a fluke.

Jeff Johnson can run and run well.

The Argos third-string running back, who had 85 rushing yards and a touchdown after replacing the injured Sean Millington in a win over the Montreal Alouettes last week, was spectacular in his first start with Toronto last night.

The York University product had 157 yards on eight receptions, 40 yards on six carries and scored two touchdowns as the Argos clinched first in the East with a 34-11 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last night at the Rogers Centre.

"If you want to (think about being passed over as a starter for most of his six-year career), it can make you an angry individual," said Johnson, who didn't start playing football until Grade 12.

"I'm a positive type of guy and I understand that's the way the game works. It's unfortunate how it works but that's how it works. When an opportunity arises, you just have to prove them all wrong."

He did just that last night. But when John Avery returns from injury for the East final Nov. 20, Johnson knows his role could be reduced. While he doesn't want that to happen, he won't complain.

"If I'm in there, I'm in there and I'm going to get it done," Johnson said. "If I'm not, J.A. is the man and I'll back him up and do it on special teams."

A Canadian running back with more hype -- rookie Jesse Lumsden -- started for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last night. Is that fair?

"Jesse did extremely well in the CIS and set all the records," Johnson said. "He deserves to be given the rock a little bit. There are a lot of us that are biding their time and waiting, but maybe we just have to take an alternate route."

In the Argos' dressing room, current York running back Andre Durie, on crutches after a bad knee injury this season, listened to Johnson talking to the media. Johnson said he wants to help pave the way for Durie.

"It (a York player making the CFL) doesn't happen too often but the next one's right here," Johnson said. "This is why I'm playing now and trying to succeed, so when he comes they give him the ball right away. He doesn't have to go through six years of special teams."


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