LAWRENCE, Kan. – Charlie Moore's whereabouts had become more than a curiosity.
The spring thing, Moore exited April in the spotlight, then slipped out of sight when the real games started in September.
The wideout's stats through four games – three catches for 76 yards against teams not known as Savannah State – had Cowboys fans calling for an APB on Moore.
Needed Saturday, with the offense sputtering and the receiving corps two men down in a struggle at Kansas, Moore reappeared.
If not on time, just in time, proving critical in OSU's 20-14 win.
Moore caught a quick pass from J.W. Walsh, fought through a tackle in the flat, then took off down the sideline for a 72-yard scoring play that pushed OSU's lead to 17-0.
“Thank god,” said Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who initially thought Moore had taken a wrong path. “I thought he turned inside; I was saying, ‘No!'
“All of a sudden he snakes through there and he makes a big play for us.”
It was Moore's first touchdown this season and only the second of his career.
It was also OSU's longest play from scrimmage since a Brandon Weeden-to-Justin Blackmon 80-yard connection in 2010, this one aided by a springing block by fellow receiver Josh Stewart, sending Moore into a footrace KU safety Lubbock Smith couldn't win.
“Charlie's really fast when he gets going,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. “Somewhat deceiving, but can probably be under 4.5 (40-yard dash) when he gets rolling. And he's awful strong and he can carry his pads.
“Once he got out there, I was pretty sure they'd have a hard time catching him.”
At the time, Moore's catch and dash provided the Pokes some breathing room. In the end, it represented the decisive points.
“A great call at the right time,” Moore said. “And a great block by Josh Stewart, coming back and peeling on that guy.
“I just ran. And it opened up for me.”
Things haven't necessarily opened up for Moore in the offense.
Certainly not the kind of things expected after Moore was the surprising breakout performer in OSU's spring game, when he caught nine passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns, goosing a fan base looking for post-Blackmon production.
He caught three passes for 18 yards in the opener against Savannah State. None in the loss at Arizona. One against Louisiana-Lafayette. Two against Texas.
Gundy said Moore's impact is defined more by the defense than play calls.
“In our offense, we can't always predict who's going to make a number of plays,” Gundy said, “with the exception of a guy like Blackmon, who's a first-round pick.
“Unfortunately at times, that depends on how they play us. We really can't predict who gets it a number of times in this offense. There are pros and cons to this offense.”
Missing injured starters Tracy Moore (ankle) and Isaiah Anderson (finger) against Kansas, the Cowboys needed fresh targets.
And Charlie Moore produced, turning in the game's offensive highlight and finishing with five receptions for 97 yards. Going forward, he's likely to be needed more, with Tracy Moore's ankle injury potentially troublesome.
“It's never good when guys like Tracy and Ike are down,” Charlie Moore said. “Those guys are leaders, they came back out after halftime and they kept encouraging us. I was just happy to go make plays for them.
“In this offense, anybody can make plays. Today, I happened to get my number called and made a few plays for the team. And it was a lot of fun.”