Jon Cornish and the Stampeders trampled the B.C. Lions Friday night.The Calgary Stampeders entered Friday night with an 11-3 record and a chance to increase their hold on first place in the CFL's West Division, and they took full advantage of that, besting the B.C. Lions 40-26. It wasn't a lopsided game, as B.C. battled back from an early deficit, tied the contest midway through the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie it again down the stretch before a Thomas DeMarco throw that went awry turned into a pick-six. However, the Stampeders deserved the result on the balance, and that was largely thanks to the play of Jon Cornish.
Cornish, the league's rushing leader but a guy blasted by Kory Sheets as a lesser running back this week, looked like anything but Friday night. He collected 130 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries, giving him a remarkable average of 8.7 yards per carry. That passed the record for rushing yards by a Canadian he set last season, extending it to 1,545 yards. He also was effective in the blocking game and as a pass receiver, hauling in three catches for 35 yards. This wasn't all about Cornish, of course, but his success on the ground was a huge reason for Calgary's win Friday.
The Stampeders' defence was also crucial, though. They held B.C. running back Andrew Harris to just 31 yards on nine carries (3.4 yards per carry), and while DeMarco threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns on the night, his 59.0 per cent completion rate wasn't great and his late pick-six sealed this contest. Calgary quarterback Kevin Glenn wasn't fantastic, completing just 59.5 per cent of his passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, but Cornish and the defence gave him enough support to come up with a win.
With the win, the Stampeders improve to 12-3 and have first place all but locked up. The Lions drop to 9-6 and are 1-2 against Calgary, so the only way they could get to first would be to win their final three games, have the Stampeders drop their final three (including another clash against B.C.) and win that head-to-head game by enough points to take the season series. The 9-5 Saskatchewan Roughriders (who play Saturday against Edmonton) have a better chance, especially if they can come up with a win this week, but they'll still be two games back even after that with only three left. Granted, one of those is also against Calgary (Oct. 26), but the Stampeders still seem to have top spot in the division and its critical accompanying first-round bye all but locked up, and that's largely as a result of this game. This may be remembered as a crucial result when the playoff seeds are handed out, and Calgary will have Cornish and their defensive corps to thank for that.