Cowboys, Smith Dance All Over Tigers

STILLWATER – Dez Bryant didn't play. Neither did Perrish Cox, nor Kendall Hunter, nor Jeremiah Price. But Jeremy Smith did play and he was more than enough for Grambling State. The true freshman from Tulsa ran for 160 yards and Oklahoma State got what it needed Saturday night with a convincing 56-6 victory over Grambling State in front of a record-setting crowd of 56,901 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

With Bryant (hamstring), Cox (shoulder), Hunter (ankle sprain) and Price (hand) on the sideline in street clothes it was the perfect way for the 16th-ranked Cowboys to wrap up non-conference play heading into an off week before opening Big 12 Conference action on Oct. 10 at Texas A&M.

The 5-foot-10, 203-pound Smith finished with 160 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the Cowboys' most lopsided win since OSU defeated SMU (59-7) on Sept. 18, 2004.

Smith's 160 rushing yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to close out the scoring, is the most by an OSU player in his first ever appearance in school history. It easily surpassed the previous first-game efforts of Terry Miller (128 yards vs. Wichita State in 1974) and Vernand Morency (108 yards vs. Louisiana Tech in 2002).

However, Smith's performance did not come close to the true freshman rushing record set by Thurman Thomas in 1984 (206 yards against Kansas State).

"I thought he played pretty good. He played pretty good," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said of Smith, who had runs of 51 and 69 yards - the two longest by the Cowboys this season.

"The one thing we saw as coaches is that he's mature and he seems to be pretty physical, so that gave him a chance to play as a freshman," Gundy added. "He has good shake, and we like the way he approaches practice. He works very hard in practice, and he understands and listens and is very coachable. When you're mature enough and can play at this level, those are some of the intangibles that you look for to get them on the field.

"We just felt from this time on going through league play that we're going to need another back."

Smith wasn't the only young player to see action for the Cowboys. Others seeing their first action of the season were offensive linemen Grant Garner, Jordan Taormina, DeJuan Davis, quarterbacks Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden, running back Michael Roberts, wide receivers Colton Chelf and Adrian Richards, safety Walker Smith, defensive linemen Horace Hubbard, Andrew Smith, Jarid King, linebackers Kenny Alexander, Bryson Hutchins, Tyler Fields and Mathies Long.

Wide receiver Dameron Fooks, a transfer from Fullerton (Calif.) Community College, did not have a catch in the Cowboys' first three games of the season. He was not even listed on the two-deep depth chart entering Saturday night's game but led Oklahoma State with four catches for 81 yards, including two touchdown receptions.

Robinson completed 13 of 16 passes for 189 yards and threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Fooks in the second quarter. The senior quarterback, who also ran the ball nine times for 30 yards, including a season-best 18-yarder, led the Cowboys to 340 total yards on 40 offensive plays in the first half to give OSU a commanding 35-3 lead. He then spent the rest of the game on the sideline beside Bryant, Hunter, Cox and Price.

Starting running back Keith Toston had 84 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries.

"That was a good win for us tonight," Gundy said. "We were able to use some other players who didn't have a lot of experience. We thought there were a number of guys who stepped up and made some plays, and I thought the defense played exceptionally well.

"It was good to get a win. It's nice to have an open week and move forward."

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