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Canadian Rourke's 2022 CFL season one for the league record book

Nathan Rourke BC Lions Nathan Rourke - The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Even if Nathan Rourke's stellar '22 season be over, it will still be one for the CFL record book.

The 24-year-old Victoria native suffered a foot injury in the B.C. Lions' 28-10 road win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week. Rourke will undergo surgery and while he remains optimistic about a late-season return, his 2022 campaign remains very much in jeopardy.

With Rourke out, Michael O'Connor, an Ottawa native, will start Friday night when B.C. (8-1) hosts the Riders (5-5) to complete the home-and-home series. The Lions are looking for their first season series sweep against Saskatchewan since going 3-0 in 2016.

But according to the CFL, should Rourke be unable to return, by having attempted the minimum of 300 passes, his 79.2 per cent completion mark would stand as a single-season league record. It would break the current mark of 77.23 per cent set in 2013 by Ricky Ray of the Toronto Argonauts.

Rourke's efficiency rating of 125.1 would be the second-best in CFL history behind Ray's mark of 126.37, also set in 2013.

Ray headlines the 2022 class that will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame on Sept. 16.

Rourke, in his second CFL season and first as B.C.'s starting quarterback, has completed 248-of-313 passes for 3,281 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He leads the league in passing yards, TDs and completion percentage.

He also holds the CFL record for most passing yards by a Canadian in a regular-season game, throwing for 488 yards Aug. 13 in rallying B.C. to a 41-40 victory over the Calgary Stampeders.

Rourke is also the league's top-rushing quarterback, having run for 304 yards on 39 carries (7.8-yard average) with seven touchdowns.

More importantly, B.C. (8-1) is second in the West Division standings, its only loss coming against front-running Winnipeg (9-1). But since dropping a 43-22 home decision to the Blue Bombers on July 9, the Lions have reeled off five straight victories.

O'Connor is poised to become the third Canadian quarterback to start a game this season after Rourke and Edmonton rookie Tre Ford. Three Canadian quarterbacks haven't started games in the same season since 1968 when Ottawa's Russ Jackson, Edmonton's Frank Cosentino and B.C.'s Peter Ohler were all under centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2022.