No. 11 Ok­la­homa State happy with run­ning back King ris­ing in back­field

Rome News-Tribune - - SPORTS - By John Tranchina

STILL­WA­TER, Okla. — It could have been a night­mare sce­nario for Ok­la­homa State when start­ing run­ning back Jus­tice Hill left the game with an in­jury early in the first quar­ter on the road against West Vir­ginia.

Hill ex­ited af­ter gain­ing 42 yards on two car­ries, and fresh­man backup J.D. King stepped up in his place. King wound up set­ting ca­reer highs with 36 rushes and 142 yards, in­clud­ing a 20-yard touch­down run that gave the No. 11 Cow­boys (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) a 23-3 lead in the sec­ond quar­ter en route to a 50-39 vic­tory.

King also had a per­sonal-best five re­cep­tions for 29 yards and another touch­down, a 6-yard catch early in the third quar­ter that put his team ahead

30-10. They were his first ca­reer re­cep­tions.

“We were re­ally proud of what J.D. King brought to the ta­ble, touch­ing the ball 41 times in a con­fer­ence

game as a true fresh­man,” said Ok­la­homa State coach Mike Gundy. “He was a big fac­tor for us.”

Hill had av­er­aged 25.5 car­ries over the pre­vi­ous four games, sur­pass­ing 100 yards rush­ing in each of them.

King did gain 95 yards on six rushes, and his first touch­down, in the Cow­boys’ sea­son-open­ing win over Tulsa on Aug. 31, but he has served as Hill’s pri­mary backup all year. He had just one carry, for seven yards, on Sept. 23 in a 44-31 loss to TCU and ran it just twice, for 12 yards, in a 41-34 win at Texas Tech.

But when the Cow­boys needed him most on Satur­day, the 5-11, 205-pound King de­liv­ered.

“It’s pretty sim­ple with him,” Gundy said of King. “Ev­ery once in a while, we come across young men that are very ma­ture, not only phys­i­cally, but men­tally — very sta­ble. The big scene doesn’t af­fect him that much. He’s been that way since day one.”

File, Ray­mond Thomp­son / AP

Ok­la­homa State run­ning back J.D. King (27) runs the ball dur­ing a game against West Vir­ginia.

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