Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Saw-off between Cornish, Owens

Stampeder, Argonaut equally outstanding

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TORONTO -- Jon Cornish is again chasing CFL history.

The Calgary Stampeders running back was named a finalist for the league's outstanding player award, along with receiver/kick-returner Chad Owens of the Toronto Argonauts.

Cornish ran for a league-best 1,457 yards and not only became the first Canadian to lead the CFL in rushing since '88 but also broke Norm Kwong's 56-year-old record for most rushing yards in a season by a Canuck of 1,437.

The six-foot, 217-pound native of New Westminster, B.C., could become the first Canadian to claim the award since Tony Gabriel in 1978. Gabriel and former standout quarterback Russ Jackson (1963, '66, '69) are the only Canadians to ever win it.

Pringle

And Cornish would be the first running back to do so since Montreal's Mike Pringle in '98.

"It's going to be very interesting," Cornish said. "I think him coming out of the East is sort of a statement about how the season has played out.

"It hasn't been a typical season in terms of statistics. You have a special-teams player leading the league in receiving and you have a running back (outgaining) the longest receiver. It's very interesting."

Owens set a pro football record of 3,863 all-purpose yards. The 30-year-old Hawaii native and also led the CFL in receiving (94 catches, 1,328 yards, six TDs), kickoff returns (71 for 1,588 yards) and total return yards (2,510).

"I set the bar high for myself . . . having a chance to be a (most outstanding player) that's the top right?" Owens said. "As a player you never want to try to be No. 2 . . . you always want to try to be the best.

"So for me, it's winning the Grey Cup, obviously, and, if I'm fortunate enough, to have an opportunity to one day be a most outstanding player."

Voting was conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada and eight CFL head coaches. The award winners will be named Nov. 22 in Toronto.

Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said there isn't much to choose between Owens and Cornish.

"He's had a great season too," Milanovich said of Cornish. "They're both deserving."

Owens agreed.

"Cornish is an awesome player," he said. "He's obviously done what he needed to do to get to this point, to get nominated as well.

"He's a hell of a football player."

-- The Canadian Press

1The league will honour its top performers Nov. 22 in Toronto, leading up to the 100th Grey Cup game on Sunday, Nov. 25.

Most Outstanding Player

Calgary Stampeders

running back Jon Cornish

Receiver/kick-returner Chad Owens, Toronto

Argonauts

Most Outstanding Defensive Player

Montreal Alouettes linebacker

Shea Emry

Edmonton Eskimos linebacker

J.C. Sherritt

Most Outstanding Canadian Player

Jon Cornish -- Calgary

Shea Emery -- Montreal

Most Outstanding Lineman

Montreal

offensive tackle Josh Bourke

B.C. offensive tackle Jovan Olafioye

Most Outstanding Rookie

Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Chris Matthews

B.C. Lions defensive lineman Jabar Westerman

Most Outstanding

Special Teams Player

Chris

Williams

of the

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Tim

Brown

of the

B.C.

Lions

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 8, 2012 D2

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