DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
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Rookie Beasley Leads Receivers After Breakout 4th Quarter
SAN DIEGO -- The leading receiver in Saturday’s loss to the Chargers had just one catch after three quarters.
In the race for a third wide receiver spot, Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris seemed to be leading heading into the fourth quarter before Cole Beasley put on a show at the end, finishing with seven catches for 104 yards to top the Cowboys’ receiving charts.
“I’ve just got to continue doing what I’ve been doing, that’s go out there and try to make every play that I can,” Beasley said. “And every time I get an opportunity to catch the ball I’ve got to catch it, bring it in, and try to get some yards after the catch.”
Beasley recorded his first and only catch with the first team on a 14-yard reception from Tony Romo in the first quarter that led to Dan Bailey’s first field goal of the day, which put the Cowboys ahead, 3-0.
The rookie from SMU was held without a reception the next two quarters, while Ogletree separated himself from the third wide receiver candidate hopefuls with four catches for 60 yards in the first half, including a 35-yard bomb from Kyle Orton in the second quarter.
But Beasley’s night wasn’t done.
The undrafted rookie snagged six catches for 90 yards, including four catches for 57 yards on the game’s final drive to finish with 44 more yards than any other Cowboys receiver, validating what everyone had already seen from the slot threat throughout training camp.
Beasley admitted he was tired with the increased reps, even throwing up after one of his catches, which he said is actually normal for him.
“I was already gassed a little bit, then I fell on the ball and knocked the wind out of me a little bit,” he said. “It just caused some stuff to come up.”
Beasley caught passes from Romo, Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter, who supplied the passes to Beasley on the final drive. Head coach Jason Garrett said quarterbacks like throwing to the shifty target and they have confidence he’ll make the play.
“Beasley just has a really good feel as an inside receiver,” Garrett said. “He showed that. He can get away from people, has a good feel for finding holes, very quarterback-friendly.”
While Miles Austin’s hamstring injury bumped Ogletree to starting receiver opposite Dez Bryant, it also opened the door for Beasley to step in as a third receiver with the first team, an opportunity he may not have had otherwise.
Romo only connected with Beasley one time, but he’s seen the abilities of the undersized receiver who is making his case to stay on the team as a slot receiver and potential punt returner.
“You could tell right away that he’s a smart kid who understands the game,” Romo said. “He understands coverages and when you can do that, it helps you get open. I could see that in the first few practices out there. Once he understands (the NFL) game a little better, I think he a chance to be really good.”
After solid nights from Ogletree and Harris, Beasley knows he still has his work cut out for him. But the 5-8 rookie is quickly becoming a favorite among fans and his teammates.
“Everybody likes an underdog,” Beasley said.