ARLINGTON, Texas – As the Florida State opener neared and the noise showering praise on Tyreek Hill soared, many started to wonder if Hill could possibly live up to the hype?
If anything, Hill may have exceeded the hype Saturday night.
“I think his play kind of speaks for itself,” said Cowboys quarterback J.W. Walsh. “He was a big catalyst for us. He played very well. We’re excited for the future with him and what he can do.”
Cowboys coaches met their goal of getting Hill 15-20 touches. And many of them were exhilarating.
“Well, we know he’s fast,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said of Hill’s best-known trait. “We’ve confirmed that. Because those guys (from FSU) chasing him were fast.”
Hill showed more than speed, although that was evident, too.
The Hill breakdown:
* 8 rushes for 44 yards, a 5.5 average per carry.
* 6 receptions for 62 yards, with a long of 22 yards.
* 6 kickoff returns for 140 yards, with a long of 46 yards.
* 2 punt returns for 32 yards.
For the game, his 278 all-purpose yards were a game-high for both teams.
“I thought our offense staff did a great job of using him,” Gundy said. “They had a really good plan.
And he competed. It all comes down to competition. He was known as a great track athlete who had success in football.
“It’s just one game for him, but he was certainly willing to stand toe-to-toe. And that’s what it takes. You’ve got to have guys who will compete. He’s just blessed with tremendous speed and ability. And I was proud of the way he competed. And our team kind of rallied around him.”
A true gauge of Hill’s impressiveness: former OSU offensive linemen were lining up in support of him on Twitter.
Evan Epstein: “Give Tyreek Hill the ball. All the time.”
Levy Adcock: “Thank god for Tyreek Hill. #puttheteamonyourback.”
The Cowboys will have to monitor how much the lean on Hill going forward. He’s never carried a major workload.
But then, how do you go away from him?
“Tyreek can make a lot of plays,” said Cowboys cornerback Kevin Peterson.
And remember, Hill was making his major-college debut – against the reigning national champion and the overwhelming choice as this year’s No. 1 team.
As squads with less talent see Saturday’s game tape, which confirmed the buzz surrounding Hill, game plans are sure to adjust. And that should help OSU’s offense.
And special teams.
In an offense not quite equipped to run at Air Raid optimum levels, Hill offers an added dimension.
“I think with his speed, there’s no telling what he can do to the defenses,” Walsh said. “It’s almost where you just see what he can do and watch him work. There’s a lot of times where he gets the ball and there’s a lot of guys around him and he just makes them all miss.”