CLEVELAND -- Ezekiel Elliott had a successful return to the state of Ohio with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
The former Ohio State University standout rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in the Cowboys’ 35-10 win over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, which gave Dallas an NFC-best 7-1 record.
“It’s fun,” Elliott said of his return to Ohio. “It just shows the strength of Buckeye Nation. It shows how much they follow you.”
In his first seven starts with the Cowboys, Elliott turned 159 carries into 799 yards and five scores for a team leading both the East Division and the NFC despite having a first-year backfield with Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott.
Now, Elliott has 891 yards and seven scores, which is slightly behind the pace of the NFL’s rookie record set by Los Angeles Rams Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson in 1983.
“He is very good and super talented,” offensive lineman Zack Martin of Elliott. “He really can do everything. He can block, he can run, he’s got that big-play capability. He can catch the ball in the backfield. He’s doing a great job for us.
“We pride ourselves on being able to run the football. We were able to show that. I know we are going to continue to try and do that. I know that’s a big part of our game.”
Elliott extended the Cowboys’ lead over the Browns to 14-3 with a 10-yard touchdown run with 10:02 to play in the first half.
On first and goal from the Browns’ 10-yard line, Elliott got the ball from Prescott around right tackle and hustled his way to the pylon. With a defender closing in fast, Elliott extended toward the end zone, and after a long conversation amongst the officials, the touchdown call was made.
Elliott’s touchdown run capped off a nine-play, 69-yard drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock.
Elliott scored his second touchdown on an eight-yard run around left tackle and staked the Cowboys out to a 28-10 lead over the Browns with 11:30 to play in the third quarter.
On first and goal from the eight after a six-yard pass from Prescott to tight end Jason Witten, Elliott took the handoff, chop-stepped at the line of scrimmage and sprinted out wide to the left. Then, with no defender close, Elliott cut up the field and jogged across the goal line for the touchdown.
“We’re a physical football team,” Elliott said. “We want to get out there and start fast. We want to play a physical game and impose our will.
“We have all the confidence in the world, especially in each other. We’ve had so much success because of the chemistry we have, how much we care about one another and every time we go out, we play for the guy next to us. We have a lot of confidence in each other. We are not at all a perfect team. We’re fighting and that’s our best attribute.”