WINNIPEG — Marcus Thigpen refused to let an injury get in the way of CFL history on Friday night.
Before the Hamilton Tiger-Cats running back scored the first touchdown in his team’s 39-28 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he twisted his ankle and almost pulled himself out.
But the 24-year-old Detroit native stayed in and rushed for a five-yard TD to become the first player in league history to score a touchdown five different ways in a season.
“I was injured before the play, (but) I said, ‘I’ve got to go in there and try to get it,”‘ said Thigpen.
“That’s been my goal ever since I’ve heard that I can break the record. I feel honoured and privileged to be up there with the guys that had…done it four different ways.
“To be on top, it feels good.”
Earlier this season, the rookie out of Indiana University returned a punt, kickoff and missed field goal for touchdowns and also caught a TD pass.
The kickoff and missed field goal returns also came against Winnipeg, while the punt return and receiving TDs versus Calgary.
The victory upped Hamilton’s record to 3-4 and gave the Ticats 3-1 edge in the team’s four-game season series with the Bombers.
Winnipeg dropped to 2-5 in front of 27,892 fans at Canad Inns Stadium.
Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn is also from Detroit and was happy to see Thigpen get the record.
“I’m glad he’s from Detroit,” Glenn said with a smile. “Hometown boy.
“That’s a great accomplishment, especially for a guy that young doing it. That says a lot about his ability and what he can do in this league.”
Glenn completed 18-of-26 passes for 274 yards, with touchdown passes to league-leading receiver Arland Bruce III (55 yards), running back DeAndra Cobb (three yards) and slotback Marquay McDaniel (19 yards).
Hamilton placekicker Sandro DeAngelis booted a 35-yard field goal and punter Eric Wilbur added a 62-yard punt single.
Cobb also rushed two yards for a key TD early in the fourth quarter after the Bombers had narrowed the gap to 32-21 following a Hamilton turnover.
Winnipeg defensive back Brady Browne intercepted Glenn in the end zone and ran the ball out 60 yards. The drive ended with Adarius Bowman’s nine-yard TD catch at 13:08 that made it 32-21.
Cobb’s receiving touchdown 11 seconds into the second quarter came off a Winnipeg fumble by receiver Aaron Hargreaves, one of five Bomber turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles, one turnover on downs).
Cobb rushed 22 times for 86 yards, while Winnipeg running back Fred Reid was held to 11 carries for 48 yards. Reid has yet to rush for more than 100 yards this season.
Winnipeg’s woes began before the first whistle, when new Bomber placekicker Louie Sakoda pulled his calf muscle during the pre-game warm-up and didn’t play.
Sakoda was signed earlier in the week after Alexis Serna was cut. Punter Mike Renaud took over kicking duties, but didn’t attempt a field goal.
Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said he’s never seen a kicker hurt just before a game and didn’t know the seriousness of the injury.
But he added that it was penalties (15 for 127 yards) and turnovers that killed his team, not the loss of the kicker.
“We lost the turnover margin,” LaPolice said. “It’s a simple equation we’re trying to preach to our players and that’s what happened to them.”
Hamilton committed two turnovers, both interceptions by Glenn. One was taken back 55 yards for a TD by Bombers cornerback Jovon Johnson.
Winnipeg slotback Terrence Edwards hauled in a 21-yard TD toss from Steven Jyles and a 32-yard TD pass from Buck Pierce, who was back starting after missing the previous three games with a sprained right knee.
However, Pierce was replaced by Jyles late in the second quarter after completing 7-of-12 passes for 63 yards with one TD and one interception.
Jyles finished 14-of-22 for 227 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.
“(Pierce) had trouble moving and some of his accuracy was hurting because of his mobility,” LaPolice said in explaining the switch.
Edwards echoed his coach’s assessment of the team’s downfall.
“(Losing Sakoda) didn’t necessarily throw us off, but we need a kicker,” Edwards said.
“It changed the game plan, but we did a lot more stuff to hurt ourselves than our new kicker going down.
“We keep killing ourselves and right now we shouldn’t be doing that.”