Any Canadian Football League fan watching the Calgary-Saskatchewan matchup on Friday knew Jon Cornish had a big night.
He carried the ball 16 times for 175 yards, adding four touchdowns n the process. Those achievements had the Stampeders reaching for the record book.
The four rushing touchdowns were a franchise first, as no player in team history had rushed for four touchdowns in a game.
The four touchdowns were also the second most by a player in team history. Earl Lunsford holds the record with five. Cornish became just the third player in team history to record four touchdowns in a game. The last player to record four majors in a game was Hall of Fame Stampeders receiver Herm (Ham Hands) Harrison in 1970.
As solid as the game was, it didn’t represent a career high for Cornish. Last season he rushed for 185 yards in a game in Edmonton. A big night indeed!
From Calgary’s view point the win was significant on many fronts. First they defeated their top rival. That’s good news at any time. They also evened the season series at one game each.
The rubber match will be played October 26 in Calgary. Given the way these teams have opened the season, there is every reason to think they will be in contention for top spot in the division later in the year.
The game was also important for Calgary’s starting quarterback Kevin Glenn. He is expected to have the reigns of the team through Labour Day, as incumbent starter Drew Tate is undergoing treatment for what is being described as a ‘tennis-elbow’ type injury.
After a slow start on Friday, Glenn displayed his skills as a steady game manager. His high completion percentage combined with no interceptions kept the Stampeders' offence moving for a season-high 29 first downs. He also displayed flashes on the ground with three carries for 21 yards.
Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis also reminded everyone in the league that he is still a force to be reckoned with. Lewis hauled in seven passes, including a momentum-shifting touchdown pass late in the game.
Another important development during the game was the Stampeders' ability to generate some Saskatchewan turnovers. Entering the game, the Roughriders had just one turnover and none offensively.
That ended early when the Stampeders successfully challenged a fumble, setting up Cornish’s first touchdown. The fact the Stampeders were able to generate turnovers and pressure certainly was a significant development.
The Stampeders also received their usual stellar kicking effort from Rene Paredes. He added two more field goals to his total, making it 36 consecutive kicks. Maybe most impressive is the fact he hasn’t missed a field goal try at McMahon Stadium since late in 2011. However, all was not perfect. For the first time in his career, he missed an extra point.
Overall, it was a game that lived up to the hype of being a big first place showdown. The stars shone and two good teams slugged it out. The rematch in October awaits!
Mark Stephen is Sports Director of CHQR Radio in Calgary and has broadcast Calgary Stampeder games since 1996. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkonFootball.