Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ogletree, Romo spark Cowboys

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Dallas Cowboys waited all year for another shot at the New York Giants. When they got it in the 2012 season opener, they were ready.

So were the replacement officials, who barely were a story as Dallas dominated the Super Bowl champions for much of a 24-17 victory Wednesday night that wasn't nearly so close.

It won't make up for the New Year's Day loss that cost the Cowboys the NFC East title and sent the Giants on their way to the NFL championship. It sure could provide impetus for this season, though, particularly with the discovery of a new game-breaker, Kevin Ogletree.

While the officials were expected to be a big focus as the league's lockout of the regulars continued, there were no controversies, no blatant mistakes or rampant confusion. The spotlight belonged squarely on the Cowboys, from Tony Romo's three touchdown passes and 307 yards in the air to DeMarco Murray's 129 yards rushing to Ogletree's two scores.

Dallas' defence frustrated Eli Manning and his offence with three sacks and a half-dozen pressures, all before the largest crowd at MetLife Stadium for a Giants game. The 82,287 saw the defending league champs lose in the now-traditional midweek kickoff contest for the first time in nine such games.

When the Cowboys were threatened late -- a spot they often have folded in against the Giants -- Romo hit Ogletree for 15 yards on third down to clinch it. That gave Ogletree 114 yards on eight catches; he had 25 receptions for 294 yards and no scores entering the game.

Big-time receivers

The Cowboys' big-time receivers -- Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten -- were eclipsed by Ogletree, who sure didn't resemble a backup. In the first half, he had five catches for 47 yards and a TD, and broke free for a 40-yard reception early in the third quarter.

Ogletree thoroughly fooled New York's top cornerback, Corey Webster on his long score to start the second half -- the kind of big play the Cowboys couldn't make enough of in that Jan. 1 showdown that ended their season.

And they got another huge play from Murray, who broke two tackles in the backfield, scooted down the right sideline for 48 yards, and set up Dan Bailey's 33-yard field goal for a 17-10 lead through three quarters.

After Manning connected with former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett for a 9-yard touchdown with 2:36 remaining, Dallas never gave the ball back.

Murray's counterpart with the Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw, scored on a 10-yard run -- New York's first effective rush all game -- for the hosts' first touchdown. And Ogletree's opposite number, Giants third wideout Domenik Hixon, made a spectacular leaping grab for 39 yards over two defenders to set up that score.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2012 C2

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