The debut of Joseph Randle as the Cowboys new feature back went well, with the sophomore back rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Kye Staley, while he didn't carry the ball, shares in Randle's success, after clearing holes on several of Randle's big runs.
“It was impressive,” said Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden. “I've watched the game three times now, and one thing that stands out is how hard Kye played. There's several plays where he chopped a guy, or led the block and created a hole for Jeremy (Smith) and Joseph that put them 10 or 12 yards farther up the field.”
It's a different role for Staley, who arrived at OSU as a prized tailback recruit, only to have a severe knee injury cloud his future.
Back from that adversity, Staley has reinvented himself and his career.
“Kye has really embraced the role of playing fullback,” said offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “You can just see it in him, something had been taken away from him that he never thought he'd play again. Now to be able to come back and not only play, but contribute, you can just see his energy level on the field, his excitement.
“That's fun to see. He's a good guy to be around our team. He's a leader.”
WILDCATS BATTLING INJURY, ILLNESS
Since the last time OSU saw Arizona, in the December Alamo Bowl, things have not gone smoothly for the Wildcats, despite a season-opening win over Northern Arizona.
Major knee injuries have already claimed three projected defensive starters: safety Adam Hall, cornerback Jonathan McKnight and linebacker Jake Fischer.
Now comes word that UA star wide receiver Juron Criner missed Monday's practice with an undisclosed illness, although Wildcats coach Mike Stoops expects Criner to play Thursday night.
In addition, projected starting guard Trace Biskin is questionable with a knee injury, as is second-team running back Daniel Jenkins, who missed the opener with an ankle injury.
STOOPS: WEEDEN ‘BIG-TIME PLAYER'
While Arizona finished with a comfortable 41-10 win over Northern Arizona in its opener, the defense endured some rough patches defending the pass.
The Wildcats allowed 16 straight completions at one point and corner Shaquille Richardson, replacing the injured McKnight, was reportedly picked on repeatedly.
Now the 'Cats face a step up in competition.
“This quarterback is a big-time player and a big-time thrower,” Stoops said of Weeden. “So, your precision (in the secondary) needs to be better than it was a week ago.
“Their skill guys can really run. It's going to be important that our guys compete out there on the perimeter. We're going to have to have some solo coverage out there, and you just have to make plays.”
ANDERSON LOOKING FOR MORE
Cowboys junior Isaiah Anderson scored his first career touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette, a 7-yard reception from backup quarterback Clint Chelf.
“It was great,” Anderson said. “Clint Chelf and I were on the same page. He just laid it out into the corner of the end zone and I got it.”
For Anderson, who continually drew raves in the preseason, he took advantage of the late-game opportunity, adding a 20-yard catch and run to his night.
Now he's looking for more opportunities.
“I don't know if it will happen again Thursday,” Anderson said, “but I hope it does.”