The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

October 24, 2013

Cyclones' foe has uncertainty in backfield

STILLWATER, Okla. — While No. 19 Oklahoma State faces some uncertainty at quarterback Saturday at Iowa State, a similar situation is unfolding with its running backs.

Senior Jeremy Smith has been stifled in two out of the past three contests and, after limping off the field in the third quarter in the Cowboys’ 24-10 victory over TCU last weekend, his availability is in question.

And considering the explosive performance by true freshman Rennie Childs in relief in that game, suddenly Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) has a somewhat difficult choice to make regarding how it distributes the ball.

Childs certainly made a case for more significant playing time, leading the Cowboys with 45 yards on nine rushes, including his first career touchdown with 6:04 remaining, which restored Oklahoma State’s 14-point lead. Childs also turned a screen pass into a 34-yard gain.

“Explosive, confident, very competitive,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said, describing Childs. “It was great to see him get out there and compete and execute. I think he’s got an edge to him, he’s competitive and he’s tough. He’s got good hands out of the back field. He’s a very good running back from a multi-dimensional standpoint.”

So will Childs get more playing time against Iowa State (1-5, 0-3 Big 12) on Saturday?

“I think we’ll see him earlier (in the game). How much more depends on how things go with the running back situation,” head coach Mike Gundy said.

Added Yurcich: “We’re going to have to go back and talk about personnel and see how the week goes with practice and go from there.”

That appears to be a veiled way of saying that it depends on how healthy Smith is. Smith still ranks tied for second in the Big 12 with seven rushing touchdowns, even after gaining just 14 yards on 12 carries against TCU.

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