STILLWATER — As Justin Blackmon is wont to do, he stole the headlines on that rascally run to Dallas last October, exposed when troopers pulled him over on the speedy early morning return to Stillwater.
Tracy Moore, the sidekick on that turnaround trip to catch Monday Night Football, flew under the radar publicly, although his playing status with the team took a hit.
Saturday night – Moore's best night as a Cowboy – was more of what Moore has in mind as Blackmon's sidekick: seven catches for 112 yards, both career bests, with a touchdown.
And as Moore entered the post-game press conference and was announced along with those career bests, he smiled big.
“It sounded really great,” said the sophomore wide receiver. “I had a lot of fun. It reminded me of all those high school days, catching all those passes and stuff. Felt really good.”
Looked that good, too, just like those days at Tulsa Union, when he overmatched defenders.
Against Louisiana-Lafayette, with multiple defenders focused on Blackmon, Moore became an easy target for Brandon Weeden early.
Sometimes lost in assessing OSU's other receivers, Moore seems to fall in behind the likes of Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam and Michael Harrison. But at least in the season opener, Moore stepped to the front of that group, finding his place in the open space across the middle.
“Tracy made a lot of plays early in the game when they were going over the top of Blackmon, taking him away,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. “Tracy was not only in the right place, but he made some nice catches.”
Blackmon, as always, got his, leading OSU with eight catches for 144 yards. But there's always going to be more for the taking. On any given night, a bulk could go to Anyiam or Cooper or Harrison.
“That was the thought over the whole summer,” Moore said. “They're going to double-team Justin. They're looking at Justin. This is our chance – me, Coop, Hubert, Mike, guys like that – we're just looking like it's our chance.
“And in order for Justin to have the season he needs to have, we're going to have to step up and make plays, where they can't guard Justin.”
The summer was about more than that, too, for Moore.
It was a time to slim down – Moore dropped some 20 pounds from 235 to 215 – and shape up, as in growing up.
The Dallas shenanigans showed him that.
“After that, I started to see playing time die a little bit,” Moore said. “And I kind of took it to heart. Over the summer, I said, ‘It's over. Now you've got to come back and you've got to come back stronger, two times stronger than you were last year.'
“That's what I planned on doing.”
So far, so good.
“Tracy's stepping up,” Weeden said, “there's no doubt about it. He's competitive. He wants the ball. When he does things right, good things happen.”