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Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish established a new single-season record for rushing yards by a Canadian during Friday’s 30-27 win over the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwelath Stadium.
Cornish, who coming into the contest needed 50 yards to break Normie Kwong’s 56-year-old record of 1,437 yards, set the record with a 22-yard run at the end of the third quarter. He finished the night with 69 yards and the regular season with 1,457 yards.
“(Normie Kwong) has always been that name,” said Cornish. “He’s been the top of the top for Canadian running backs. For me to now be mentioned at the same time as him is an honour.”
Cornish leads the Canadian Football League rushing race by 214 yards as he attempts to become the first Canadian to win the rushing title since 1988. His closest pursuer, Saskatchewan’s Kory Sheets, plays his final game on Saturday.
The Stamps won the game on the final play as Rene Paredes kicked a 44-yard field goal. Calgary finishes the regular season 12-6 and will face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West Division semifinal on Sunday, Nov. 11.
The game opened with a quick touchdown for the Red and White. Larry Taylor, back from nine-game injury list, returned the opening kickoff 39 yards, just shy of midfield, and Calgary punched the ball in soon after. With Drew Tate starting at quarterback, a pair of Cornish runs and a Jabari Arthur reception preceded Joe West’s crossing pattern into the end-zone from 11 yards out.
The Stampeders followed up that scoring drive with another before the end of the quarter. Maurice Price, riding a pair of long touchdown scores in recent weeks, hauled in a 40-yard pass from Tate that put the Stamps on the doorstep. Shortly after, Tate scrambled up the middle from nine yards out for the touchdown.
Edmonton’s scoring in the quarter consisted of a 42-yard Grant Shaw field goal.
The Stampeders added a pair of Paredes field goals — from 35 and 46 yards — in the second quarter to extend Calgary’s lead.
Edmonton scored its first touchdown when Matt Nichols hit Fred Stamps on a 30-yard touchdown pass. On their following drive, teh Eskimos drove 40 yards over seven plays before another big play — this time a 48-yard pass to Cary Koch — resulted in a score. Calgary led 20-17 at the half.
The Stampeders exteneded their lead in the third quarter as Price hauled in a pass and then tip-toed the sideline to go 57 yards for the touchdown. All three of Price’s scores this season have been from more than 50 yards.
The Eskimos struck back as Cory Boyd scored on a 22-yard run. Shaw then nailed a 40-yard field goal moments later to draw the Eskimos even at 27-27.
With 1:34 remaining in the game, the Eskimos lined up for the go-ahead field goal but the snap was botched and Shaw could do no better than kick the ball along the ground. Bo Levi Mitchell came into the contest for Calgary and his three completions, including two to Matt Walter, set the stage for Paredes’ game-winning field goal.