Cowboys' Ogletree has coming-out party in win over Giants

Posted: September 08, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree came home and introduced himself to the nation by ruining opening night for the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

After three years of performing in relative anonymity, Ogletree enjoyed a coming-out party by catching eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys started the NFL season with Wednesday's 24-17 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Coming off an 8-8 record, the Cowboys are considered a challenger to the Eagles and the Giants in what should again be a competitive NFC East. Their opening effort won't dissuade such talk.

To put Ogletree's statistics in perspective, he entered the game with 25 career receptions for 294 yards and zero touchdowns in his first three seasons.

Last year, he was beaten out as the Cowboys' No. 3 receiver by Laurent Robinson, who signed this season as a free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So in light of Ogletree's performance, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who completed 22 of 29 passes for 307 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, was asked where Ogletree came from.

"I forgot where he was born, but he had a great camp," said Romo, delivering just as adeptly from the podium as on the field.

Actually Ogletree is a product of Queens, N.Y.

"I felt really good when I woke up in the morning," Ogletree said. "I got to see my brother and got really good vibes today, and I couldn't be more proud."

His brother, Calvin, has been a source of inspiration. In January, Calvin Ogletree was shot in the head by gunmen on bicycles. The crime is still unsolved, but Kevin Ogletree said his brother was making progress.

"He is doing really good," Kevin Ogletree said. "Today was a most inspirational day, and it was great to see him. I love Cal."

Ogletree caught the Cowboys' first two touchdown passes, a 10-yarder with 1 minute, 1 second left in the first half and a 40-yarder on the Cowboys' first series of the third quarter to extend their lead to 14-3.

Late in the game, on a third and 10 from the Dallas 26, he caught a 13-yard pass for a first down that enabled Dallas to run out the clock.

Dallas has a strong receiving corps, but the Cowboys had been banged up. Tight end Jason Witten played despite suffering a lacerated spleen in an Aug. 13 preseason game.

Both starting receivers, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, also played, but they were hampered by hamstring and knee injuries, respectively, in the preseason.

Austin had four receptions for 73 yards and a 34-yard touchdown that extended Dallas lead to 24-10 with 5:57 left in the game.

Bryant had four receptions for 85 yards. Witten recorded two catches for 10 yards, but his value went beyond the stat sheet.

"When you have Witten, Dez Bryant, and Miles Austin healthy, that third receiver will get his shot because they have to pay attention to the other three," Dallas owner Jerry Jones said. "That was the value of having Witten out there tonight."

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Ogletree, a University of Virginia product, was a much- sought-after interview after his career performance, but he remained grounded.

"I don't want to say much about me," he said. "I am very humbled and appreciative and hope to build on this."

To a man, the Cowboys say they weren't surprised by Ogletree even if most of the rest of the nation was.

"He has been doing this each and every day in practice," Bryant said of Ogletree. "K.O. went out there and did a great job."


Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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