Blackmon Continues To Build His Legend

Justin Blackmon has made his fair share of big plays in his Cowboy career. The junior receiver has NCAA records and a Biletnikoff Award to his name and will go down as one of the most prolific receivers in NCAA history.

On Saturday afternoon, Blackmon had another astounding performance in the Cowboys' 30-29 thriller against Texas A&M with 11 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown.

But the most memorable play he had in College Station turned out to be the worst rush in OSU football history.

Asked if he would have ever thought a run for minus-39 yards that resulted in a safety would be one of the best plays of his collegiate career, a smile crept across the All-American's face.

"Not at all," Blackmon said. "It was just thrown out there. I didn't ask to do it or anything. It just kinda happened; it was one of those deals. It worked out."

With five seconds remaining in the game and the Cowboys facing a fourth down decision, coach Mike Gundy called one of the most unorthodox plays most fans in the stadium had ever seen.

Gundy put Blackmon back in shotgun formation and gave him a few simple instructions.

"That was the first time I've ever been told to run backward," Blackmon said. "I took it back; (Gundy) just told my to run out the back once the clock hit zeros, so I did."

And when Blackmon ran out the back of the end zone for a safety in front of the Cowboy faithful in the Southeast corner, it resulted in perhaps the greatest pandemonium ever caused by a willful safety as the Cowboys swarmed Blackmon and celebrated with the Cowboy fans.

The negative 39-yard run just puts another record in the books for Blackmon.

"That's nice," Blackmon said, laughing.

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken was blown away by Gundy's decision to run the wrong way, but in a good way.

"That was coach Gundy; that was a great call," Monken said. "You're stuck there trying to decide whether you want to punt, throw it up in the air, what do you want to do? That was his call and it was really, really smart."

However, as well as that play and the end result turned out for Blackmon and the Cowboys, a different play would have been remembered had things turned out differently.

In the third quarter it appeared that Blackmon had a clear path into the end zone for what would have been his second touchdown of the game and it would have given the Pokes a 31-20 advantage. Blackmon started switching the ball to his outside hand and lost it, fumbling it past the pylon for a touchback. The Pokes didn't score and A&M got the ball down just four.

"It was a fumble; it happens," Blackmon said. "It was a fumble. I was playing with the ball and I fumbled. I was actually trying to get the ball in position to dive because I thought someone was closer than he was but, like I said, it's a fumble. You just have to put it in the past and look forward; that's what we did."

The Pokes responded in a big way when corner Justin Gilbert picked off a Ryan Tannehill pass just three plays later. The Pokes turned that opportunity into a 24-yard Quinn Sharp field goal for a 27-20 lead.

"We were fortunate to overcome that and come out with a win," Monken said. "That's a lesson for all our guys: protect the ball. As much as you want to stick it out, don't. It's like a guy missing a dunk at the end of the game instead of just laying it in. Again, it's hard to be so critical of that but that's bad. Justin's a great player and nobody would feel worse than him if we hadn't come out ahead … that's what you have to do (with mistakes); you overcome them."

And that ability to overcome adversity has been a trademark for Blackmon and these Cowboys, who won their seventh-straight road game.

Running back Joseph Randle said after the touchback the team's resolve showed and so did their faith in Blackmon when Gundy made his game-ending call. The ball went to the guy the trust: Justin Blackmon.

"He deserves that; he's a veteran guy. He deserves that opportunity because we look to him in tough situations," Randle said. "He's our leader and he's a winner. Nobody else was getting the ball but Justin with the game on the line and that's how we all want it."

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