For weeks, chatter around the OSU program suggested the Cowboys might put true freshman running back Rennie Childs on a fast track to playing time, considering their ongoing issues rushing the ball.
When those issues continued Saturday, Childs eventually got the call – and responded.
Showing a burst that has been missing, Childs ran for a team-high 45 yards on five carries, all in the second half. He also scored the game's final touchdown, a key 7-yard scoring run that boosted OSU's lead to 24-10 with 6:04 to play, and turned a swing pass into a 34-yard gain.
“Rennie has been close to playing the last few weeks,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. “We felt like he was mature enough in the last game, but it just never worked out that we got him in. He's been productive in practice and showing some maturity.
“It's not just running the ball. He also has to understand the offense and be successful in those other areas. We felt like it was time today.”
Childs entered Saturday with only six carries for 15 yards in a mostly mopup role. But Jeremy Smith was managing just 14 yards on 12 carries and Desmond Roland was at 11 yards on three attempts when Childs made his entrance.
Childs averaged 5.0 per carry against TCU, the Big 12's No. 3 rushing defense. Smith and Roland had combined to average 3.84 per carry in the first five games.
INJURY UPDATE: MORE OSU O-LINE SHUFFLING
Joe Wickline's job just doesn't get any easier.
The Cowboys offensive line coach has been shuffling his guys since the preseason, when left tackle Devin Davis was lost for the season to injury. Minor injuries have followed, complicating things, and Saturday OSU was forced to play much of the way without Chris Grisbhy, who started at right tackle, but couldn't continue.
Grisbhy had been sick and dealing with a temperature during the week.
Junior college transfer Brandon Garrett replaced Grisbhy and received his most extensive playing time this season.
Grisbhy's starting assignment at least hinted at changes mentioned during the week, with regular right tackle Daniel Koenig shifting to left tackle and Parker Graham moving from left tackle to right guard.