Still, this is different.
Those teams were aided by the threat of Weeden2Blackmon, which helped open up the running game. Neither Walsh nor Lunt and (name the receiver) have developed such respect, yet.
So, can the Cowboys still run it effectively? Or will the passing game have to spark first?
That's a key Saturday storyline.
“If we don't stop them, then we're in major trouble,” said Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “After that, the play-action pass game opens up. They can hurt you in a lot of different ways.”
Spreading the field at least allows OSU natural gaps and doesn't require an overall toe-to-toe slugfest that could favor a Texas front that features elite ends in Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat.
But that, too, can create other issues.
“The more you get spread out, the more the pressure gets put on your skill guys and your quarterback,” Monken said. “The more you tighten down a little bit, it alleviates some of that and puts the pressure on your O-line.”
And we know how at least one member of the O-line feels about that pressure.
“I take it as a challenge,” Taylor said. “I love going against good competition.
“We'll always run the ball. It doesn't really matter what week or what quarterback's in.
“We're always going to run the ball. Throw the ball. I don't think it changes a lot.”
The Cowboys have talked about leaning more on the running game this season. And their backs are ready to carry the load.
“Always,” said Smith. “I say it every time, ‘Just call our names.' We're always going to be ready. We come out here and practice hard each and every day, and we've got to make them know that they can still count on us.
“Any type of situation — third-and-8, fourth-and-1 — any type of situation, they can count on us.”