Most Cowboys' fans can be forgiven if the undrafted free agent signing of Hunter Luepke didn't catch their attention. Playing in the FCS for North Dakota State doesn't draw the same headlines as Jahmyr Gibbs and Bijan Robinson, despite the Bisons' recent championship runs.
At 6-foot, 1-inch and 236 pounds, Luepke is a little taller and heavier than the other two and played fullback at North Dakota State. Despite his position, he averaged 6.07 yards per carry over his four-year career in Fargo with 24 rushing touchdowns.
But he wasn't just a threat on the ground. Luepke averaged 13 yards per catch with nine touchdowns out of the backfield. He's also a very good blocker and helped open holes for his smaller running mates. Holes that Tony Pollard and Deuce Vaughn are going to be able to take advantage of.
And those third and fourth downs with one yard to go situations? How many times last year did the Cowboys go for it and fail to convert? Way too many times. Some of that was on the offensive line, but not having a bruiser in the backfield was also an issue.
Luepke Compares To Moose
Luepke was nearly automatic when the Bison handed him the ball in those critical plays. If this sounds familiar, think back to the early 1990s when the Cowboys had a similar blocking back for Emmitt Smith.
Luepke is very similar in size and build to Daryl “Moose” Johnston. The Moose was 6'-2” and 242-pounds. He paved the way for Smith to pile up many of those All-time NFL leading rushing yards.
And Johnston was nearly as automatic when given the ball in short yardage and goal line situations. Moose 2.0 is an upgrade Dallas' offense has been in need of for some time now. Luepke certainly fits that bill.
It's safe to say he was a huge reason why North Dakota State played in three FCS Championship games in Frisco and won two of them. He can help Dallas get deeper into the playoffs by doing the same things in Dallas that he did up in Fargo.
Cowboys Run Game Will Fuel Success
Cowboys' Head Coach Mike McCarthy has stated he wants to start running the ball more. It's a smart move on his part. With a backfield of Tony Pollard, Deuce Vaughn, Ronald Jones and Luepke Dallas' defensive opponents are going to have their hands full.
No longer can they bring all out pressure on Prescott. With a solid run game, with a player like Luepke paving the way, Dallas' offense will be much more potent.
Putting up more points on the board, and cutting down the three-and-outs, will help keep the defense fresh. An improved running game will also improve Dallas' chances to get past the divisional round of the playoffs.
If Luepke sticks with the team there's a good chance he can match the results he had up in Fargo. If he does, he will be a very big part of why Dallas will finally get back to the NFC Championship game.
He might even be a key cog in the Cowboys pulling off another milestone. Winning their sixth Lombardi Trophy. We can't call him “Moose”. But a headline like “Cowboys ride stampeding ‘Buffalo' to NFL title” sounds mighty fine to me.