COLLEGE STATION, Texas – This time, Justin Blackmon made it to the end zone, ball secure as time expired, counting Texas A&M out in a 30-29 win at Kyle Field.
Never mind that it was a called, self-inflicted safety, with Blackmon taking a fourth-down shotgun snap from center and sprinting for a 39-yard loss, but preventing the Aggies from any shot at some final play drama, either via a blocked punt or some hail mary.
And never mind that Blackmon could have perhaps ended it sooner, as early as the third quarter, had he not fumbled a sure-thing touchdown into and through the end zone, on the end of what would have been a 10-yard scoring catch. That would have given the Cowboys a 31-20 lead and mounting momentum. Instead, it kept the scoreboard math manageable, to the very end.
“I was playing with the ball and I fumbled,” Blackmon said. “I was actually about to dive, I thought somebody was closer than he was. It's a fumble. You've got to put it in the past and look forward.”
Blackmon and the Cowboys can do that now, with a major statement win in hand, rallying to claim a top-10 showdown on the road. And Blackmon played his part, with 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Yet had OSU lost, Blackmon wouldn't have been a bum, but he would have been beaten up by fans and the media and his own coaches.
“I wasn't very happy with him,” said quarterback Brandon Weeden, of Weeden2Blackmon fame. “I didn't say anything.”
As it was, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy didn't say anything, either.
“The embarrassing situation that he put himself in probably solved itself,” Gundy said.
A chat is coming, however.
“It was not smart at all,” Gundy said. “We'll have that discussion – now is not the time. He's so competitive and that he gets caught up in the flow of the game. He loves it. He loves to compete, he loves to block, he loves to catch.
“And when he does that, he gets out of control a little bit, and that's what he did. I'm going to guess that he learned a lesson the hard way. We'll discuss it, but at a later time.”
To his credit, Blackmon got back to doing what he does best, which is helping his team win.
Immediately after the play, he was clapping and urging his teammates on.
“You saw me smile,” Blackmon said. “I smiled and went on with the next play. There's nothing you can do about it. You can sit and pout for the rest of the game and mess up more plays, or you can go on with the rest of the game.”