CALGARY - The Calagry Stameders' offensive line made racking up rushing yards a breeze for Jon Cornish.
Cornish had the best game of his career with 149 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Stampeders to a convincing 40-3 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in CFL action on Saturday afternoon.
"Right now it feels really easy," said Cornish, who also had 32 receiving yards on one catch. "We came out and the running game started working for us. The O-line was blocking like crazy. It was just amazing seeing these holes. I followed them and they worked out."
Cornish's big game came with Joffrey Reynolds sitting out his second straight game as a healthy scratch.
It was the first time in his career that Cornish cracked the 100-yard rushing barrier, and the first time this season that any Calgary running back accomplished the feat.
"Once you start getting it rolling like that, it's hard to get away from that," Cornish said. "I'm really hoping for the rest of the season we’re able to get out to a good start running-wise."
Cornish also commended fellow running back LaMarcus Coker, who rushed for 66 yards on 11 carries, for his efforts.
"We gave Saskatchewan the Corndog and the Coke, you know what I'm saying," Cornish said. "It's a nice little combination."
Head coach and general manager John Hufnagel applauded the efforts of the running game for leading Calgary to victory only six days after the Stamps suffered a 55-36 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Moncton, N.B.
"Jon Cornish did an excellent job," said Hufnagel, who also praised the offensive line for opening up space for Cornish to run. "Once he got through (he) made some excellent yards on his own. You see the strength and the speed that he has. LaMarcus Coker did a nice job of doing the same thing."
Back-up quarterback Drew Tate also had a rushing touchdown for Calgary (8-5), while Romby Bryant caught a TD pass from starting quarterback Henry Burris, who completed 15-of-19 passes for 158 yards.
"It felt good to get out there to get a chance at redemption," Burris said. "We focused on coming out and playing with energy and excitement."
In addition to a pair of quarterback sacks, Charleston Hughes ran back a fumble for a 71-yard touchdown during the onslaught.
"It was a long run, I tell you that," Hughes said. "It took a lot out of me but it’s my first touchdown in the CFL. I know there's a lucky fan out there that has that ball because I kicked it in the stands."
When asked if he regretted not keeping the ball, Hughes quickly answered: "It's not going to be my last touchdown. Whoever has it, have fun with it."
Rene Paredes kicked a field goal and a single, while Burke Dales added a single.
The win ended Calgary's two-game losing skid and moved the Stamps into sole possession of first place in the CFL’s West Division ahead of the B.C. Lions and Edmonton Eskimos (both 7-6).
Chris Milo kicked a field goal to account for the only points by the Roughriders (4-9), who have suffered two straight blowout losses after reeling off three straight wins.
"We didn't play very well against the run today and that was the difference in the game," said veteran Riders linebacker Barrin Simpson. "We're playing for our playoff livelihood and we just weren’t good enough today."
Saskatchewan coach Ken Miller said he will meet with his veterans to discuss how they’ll bounce back from two straight embarrassing performances.
"We just have to have player accountability," Miller said. "I told them that I was going to meet with leaders early on in the week and we'd start a basis for getting better then. We have to find some good solutions to the problems that we have."
The Stamps settled for a 45-yard single on their first drive after Paredes missed a field goal from 32 yards out. Burris then bounced back to engineer a nine-play, 70-yard drive that was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by Cornish.
The Riders hit the scoresheet in the second quarter when Milo booted a 42-yard field goal.
Following a 61-yard punt single by Dales, the Stamps got the ball back when Hughes sacked Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant to force a fumble that Daren Stone recovered. Eight plays later, Tate ran for a two-yard score to cap off a 64-yard drive.
Things kept getting worse for the Riders late in the first half when Hughes recovered another fumble by Durant and ran for a 71-yard touchdown.
The Stamps continued to build on their lead with an impressive 80-yard drive to start the second half. On the 13th play of the drive, Burris tossed a five-yard TD pass to Bryant to put Calgary up 30-3.
Cornish then ran for a 35-yard touchdown, before Paredes kicked a 40-yard field goal to round out the scoring.
Notes: Burris has now thrown 200 touchdown passes as a member of the Stampeders. … After missing the past two games with a rib injury, kick returner Larry Taylor returned to the Calgary lineup. … With Jon Gott out of the lineup due to a leg injury he suffered lastweek, Tim O’Neill started at centre for the Stamps.