STILLWATER -- As the Cowboys entered this game, they knew they would be rolling without Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown. This means the next man up to start was former JUCO transfer and normal third stringer, Dezmon Jackson.
What they did not know, was how much production they would get out of Jackson. For the past two seasons, I have heard Cowboy coaches, both on record and off, rave about Jackson's abilities and the level of dominance he routinely showed in practice. But when you're behind a 2,000 yard rusher and a redshirt senior who has shown star ability, a chance to prove yourself is hard find.
Jackson told the media after the game that he was told last Monday that he was going to be the starter against Texas Tech. "On Monday, my coach game to me and told me that I was starting and all week I was just in a mode," Jackson started. "I was just in a zone. My roommates told me that I had been acting different because they just saw how focused I was all week. Last night I couldn't even sleep because I was just so ready to play."
Well, he came in ready. And he came in hot.
In the first half, Jackson ran for 91 yards and 3 touchdowns. "I saw a guy that was focused and looking for an opportunity and he got it today," said offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn. "We talked about just running behind your pads and he did. He hit it up in there, he didn't dance around and a bunch of crap, got the rock and went down hill, after that he put his signature on the play and creased some big ones for us. He hit the hole where we wanted him to hit the whole and our offensive line took a lot of pride in blocking for him."
In the second half, while the Cowboys found a multitude of ways to score (pick-6, kickoff return TD, passing TD, quarterback keepers, safety), Jackson kept on churning. In the second half, he ran for nearly 150 yards. He finished the game with 235 rushing yard and 3 touchdowns. He had a large workload of 36 carries but managed to average 6.5 yards per carry. When Kasey Dunn talked about running down hill, he wasn't kidding.
Jackson's 235 yards is the 4th most in the Mike Gundy coaching era and 21st all time in school history.
Head coach Mike Gundy gave props to his redshirt junior running back after the game. "We felt good about Dez and his practices over the last few months, but you never really know. He's played some kind of in a relief mode and not as much as the main character, but obviously he was good today and competed and ran hard for us. Carried the ball I think 36 times, so he had a lot of endurance and I'm really proud of the way he competed, because there was times that he was getting tired but he stayed in there and did a nice job."
As we saw in 2019 with Chuba Hubbard, a strong running game can open up everything else on offense and Tylan Wallace, who had 129 yards and a touchdown today, spoke on that after the game.
"It helps more than people really know," he said. "Having a guy like that in the backfield and [Dez] doing his thing today definitely helped me out, and the receivers out. If they can't stop the run, they've got to figure out some way to stop the run, then we can throw the ball. When we start throwing the ball it's vice versa. All credit to him man. He went out there and did his thing today. I was really proud of him."
With two games remaining in the regular season for the Cowboys, it is unsure of what the status of both Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown will be and whether they will be playing. I will say though, either way, it is probably a safe bet that we will see Dez Jackson some more this season.