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Don't overlook DeMarco Murray's smarts

IRVING, Texas – As DeMarco Murray’s role has grown in the Cowboys’ offense the last two seasons, the coaches have lauded the running back’s maturity and intelligence.

That was on full display on the final series against the New York Giants in the opener, even if his final carry for 3 yards was wiped out because of a Jason Witten holding penalty.

After a 7-yard run by Murray on second down, the Giants used their final timeout with 2:17 remaining. On third-and-2 from the Dallas 34, Murray picked up the first down and wisely slid before going out of bounds to keep the clock running.

Without a timeout, the Giants would only have the benefit of the two-minute warning and the game would have effectively been over. The holding penalty kept the drama up for another play and Murray’s decision was overlooked.

Marion Barber made similar smart moves with the Cowboys, but was famously unable to stay in bounds last year in Chicago and it led to a Tim Tebow-comeback for Denver in the final moments. In the Super Bowl, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was unable to stop his momentum at the goal line after New England let him score, giving the Patriots a chance to win the game. Ultimately, the Giants won anyway.

Murray said he did it last year with the Cowboys and during his time at Oklahoma.

“We worked on it through training camp and just having an understanding for the game and the situation,” Murray said. “I just knew what to do.”