AUSTIN, Texas — Jeremy Smith found himself touting not his big day, but the other guys in orange who struggled to find him.
“Texas' defense is too fast,” Smith said, shaking his head.
Not fast enough for him.
Smith provided two bolts Saturday, touchdown romps covering 30 and 74 yards, announcing himself as yet another playmaker in the Oklahoma State arsenal. And both runs were vital, providing points and a change of complexion in the Cowboys' 38-26 win.
With the Longhorns focused on containing Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon, et al, in the passing game, OSU ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns, with Smith and Joseph Randle together averaging 8.7 per pop.
Smith's pops were like double-barreled blasts.
“Today was a game where they literally sold out to stop the pass,” Weeden said. “Those two backs kind of threw us on their shoulders and carried us.
“Jeremy had two really big ones that were a backbreaker.”
The Longhorns made no bones about their strategy. They bracketed Blackmon with regularity, even triple-covering him at times.
“You've got 81 (Blackmon) on one side and we have to double and it creates gaps,” said new Horns defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “We were trying to do things to help with their passing game.
“We had a couple self-inflicted wounds.”
The first came with the Cowboys leading 14-10 and facing a fourth-and-1 at the Texas 30 late in the first half.
Deciding against a long field goal, OSU seemed to catch the Longhorns adjusting, and with an extra offensive lineman creating a jumbo package, blew open a massive hole in the middle that sprung Smith untouched.
“There was a little bit of a lull, it seemed,” said Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “Did we get (the first down), did we not? And everybody was kind of standing around. And you know, you're also trying to decide if we're going to kick it. Is it close enough for a field goal? Do we go for it?
“It's like, ‘Screw it. Let's go.' The play was 4-23-10. We just ran it.”
Interestingly, just moments before, Smith was getting an earful from a coach on the sideline.
“Pretty much cussing me out,” Smith said.
“I messed up on a play,” Smith said. “I've just got to get downhill.”
“It was firing me up a little bit,” Smith said. “The next thing I know, the hole's wide open.”
Then late in the third quarter, with the Cowboys scuffling to put the Longhorns away, Smith provided the haymaker, the 74-yard gash, again up the gut.
Once considered OSU's short-yardage back, Smith ran away form UT safety Blake Gideon.
“Coach (Diaz) put it on the front five to play for third down and stop the run letting the back guys do what they do,” said linebacker Keenan Robinson.
“We didn't get it done.”
The Cowboys have always maintained they have two stud backs, even with Randle getting more carries. Saturday provided proof.
Smith ran for 140 yards on seven carries, while Randle went for 68 and a score on 16 attempts.
“We knew Jeremy Smith was good,” Blackmon said. “On most teams, he'd probably be the starter. They complement each other well, him and Randle, with the ways they run.”
Said Monken: “I think we have two starters. And they both bring a lot to the table. If we introduced our starters, both are guys we count on and rely on.
“It just worked out today. Sometimes the opportunities come and sometimes they don't. Jeremy doesn't get a chance to control that. But when given opportunities, he's played really well.”
And, Smith said, he'll take the opportunities whenever he can.
“Sometimes that's just the way football is, especially college football these days,” he said. “There's not just one back, there's a 1-2 punch.
“Each week, you just have to figure, this guy might have a big game, or this guy might have a good game. You never know. You've just got to keep your composure and whatever happens, happens.”