SPORTS

Capturing CFL rushing title would be great accomplishment for Boyd

08/02/2012 03:10 EDT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:12 EDT
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Cory Boyd is making the most of his chances this season.

Through five games, the Toronto tailback is the CFL's leading rusher with 424 yards and is averaging a solid 5.7 yards per carry. That's not too shabby considering Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich figures his team has only run the ball effectively in two of its contests to date.

"I'm not disappointed," Milanovich said following Thursday's practice. "We know we can do it.

"It's just like everything else, we need to be more consistent. We had a couple of opportunities where we could've run it well and we have to take advantage of that.''

Toronto's aerial attack, spearheaded by veteran quarterback Ricky Ray, has played a major role in the club's offensive resurgence in 2012. The Argos (3-2) sport the CFL's second-ranked passing attack with Ray, the former Edmonton Eskimos star currently the league's second-leading passer.

The Argos can do more than just throw the ball on offence. Boyd anchors a ground attack that's ranked fourth overall, averaging 98.8 yards per game.

However, after running for a season-high 168 yards in a 36-27 road loss to Hamilton on July 14, Boyd has rushed for a combined 107 yards on 27 carries in Toronto's last two contests, both wins.

Despite that, the six-foot-one, 213-pound Boyd tops the CFL rushing ranks, 57 yards ahead of impressive Hamilton rookie Chevon Walker. And while Boyd is typical of most running backs in wanting the ball as much as possible, he says his main goal is helping Toronto rack up wins.

"I'm always looking to make a big play whenever I get the ball," he said. "If it's one time, two times, however many times I'm just trying to capitalize on every opportunity.

"I'm already ready. It just takes one carry for me to get right.''

Adding significantly to his rushing total will certainly be a challenge for Boyd, considering Toronto hosts the B.C. Lions (3-2) on Monday. Not only are the Lions the defending Grey Cup champions, but their defence is the league's stingiest against the run, surrendering just 77.2 yards per game.

"From a defensive perspective they're very sound," Milanovich said. "Their front six is outstanding, their secondary is veteran, they don't make mistakes.

"If you make a mistake and get it in their hands they intercept it. They don't beat themselves.''

B.C.'s defence gave up just 29 yards rushing in the club's 34-8 win over Calgary on July 28, holding Stampeders' tailback Jon Cornish to -1 yards on six carries.

"Jon Cornish is a different type of running back than me," Boyd said. "I'm an inside guy, he's more an outside guy.

"However it goes, I just have to have my line come off the ball and keep encouraging them and I have to find ways of making guys miss and go back to my old ways: If there's no way, make a way. B.C. is going to bring its best, we're going to bring our best. We can't let up. We just have to keep coming hard knowing we're going to take their best punches.''

Boyd has firmly established himself as one of the CFL's top tailbacks, finishing as the league's second-leading runner in each of the last two seasons. While hoisting the Grey Cup remains Boyd's top goal, capturing a league rushing title is a very close second.

"For the past two years I've finished second and saying I'm the best running back in this league is just saying it until I have the numbers to prove it," Boyd said. "I still have a lot of work to do.

"My main goal is to help my team win games and help us get to a Grey Cup. Those are the most important things. But at the end of the season I do want to stand atop the CFL as the top rusher.''

NOTES — Tempers flared during Thursday's practice when five-foot-eight, 180-pound slotback Chad Owens got into it Robert McCune, the Argos imposing and muscular six-foot, 245-pound middle linebacker. The two were quickly separated and shortly afterwards were seen burying the hatchet with a hug. Halfway through practice, though, Milanovich stopped the session and tore a verbal strip off his team for being flat and uninspired. The Owens-McCune scrap highlighted a much more vocal and upbeat second half.

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