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The Rouge: Sheets should break single season rushing record

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Ben Fisher, TSN.ca
8/27/2013 12:38:29 PM
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Kory Sheets plays a pass-first sport in an even more pass-first league.

But his steadily spectacular production through the first half of this season is allowing the Saskatchewan Roughriders to think run.

Sheets became the fastest CFL player ever to reach 1,000 yards rushing, eclipsing the mark during Saskatchewan's Week 9 win over the Edmonton Eskimos. The sophomore import's 1,058 yards through eight games has him on pace to break the league's single season rushing record of 2,065, set by Mike Pringle of the Montreal Alouettes in 1998.

Sheets is averaging 132.25 yards per game to start the season, and if he keeps it up, will shatter Pringle's mark by 315 yards. And there's every reason to believe he can.

Sheets' numbers aren't inflated by one giant performance. In seven of the team's eight games, the 28-year-old has rushed for 130 or more yards, and only once has he gone for more than 140 yards. Sheets is as steady as it gets.

The Riders should continue to feed him the ball as well. Sheets leads the league in rushing attempts with 175, a healthy margin over the second place Jon Cornish with 108.

Sheets has had the benefit of a 7-1 record and at least a few blowouts to pad his stats with late game runs to kill the clock, but the Darian Durant-Drew Willy combo ranks among the leaders in passing attempts, so it isn't fair to say Sheets' opportunity will decrease drastically should the team's competition get stiffer in the second half.

Unless the Riders struggle mightily to finish out the season, they should be able to maintain their current balance of run and pass.

Sheets' current lead for the rushing title sits at more than 300 yards, and while Cornish (currently in second with 749 yards) is capable of producing a remarkable run – if healthy – Sheets has it all but wrapped up.

The focus now is Pringle's 2,065 yards. With the Riders looking like a well-oiled machine comfortable using the Purdue product more than any other back in the league, that mark looks very attainable. Sheets' biggest road block to the record could be if the Riders keep winning and he gets the late season rest treatment ahead of the playoffs.

The CFL loves a record breaker and it looks like they'll have another one come November, or even late October.

The Rouge asks: Will Kory Sheets break the single season CFL rushing record this year? You've heard what we've had to say, now it's your turn.

As always, it's Your! Call.

Kory Sheets (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)

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