CANTON, Ohio — The Cowboys' first preseason game was all about the rookies and young players.
Dallas won the annual Hall of Fame Game 24-20 without quarterback Tony Romo, who didn’t play. Neither did tight end Jason Witten or running back DeMarco Murray.
That left the Cowboys' offense with very little in the way of passing, and left the bulk of their attack with the running game.
Phillip Tanner had 10 carries for 59 yards, including a one-yard touchdown.
"I thought Phillip Tanner really ran hard," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "I thought tonight was a good night running the football."
Tanner said he's different this year compared to last year. "I feel faster; I know the game a lot better. That’s one thing I focused on a lot more, and that's just knowing the game," he said.
The running game picked up 170 yards on 34 carries. Rookie Joseph Randle lead the way with 70 yards on 13 carries.
The most spectacular play came on the defensive side of the ball — a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown by rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman.
"I dreamed about it all the way here, all last night, and growing up as a kid," Holloman said. "To finally get it, it was a great feeling."
It was also the first game for Garrett not to call the plays. “It was a little bit different, because I wasn’t directly involved," he said. "It allows me to step back and coach the whole team."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even weighed in on the play of the offensive line, specifically Ron Leary. Asked if Leary could start, Jones said: "Yes. I don’t want to be the coach, but I’m comfortable. It's not just his size, it's his punch."
Among the injuries Garrett was most concerned about was safety Matt Johnson, who hurt his left ankle in the game.
The team has Monday off and will return to Oxnard, California to get ready for their second preseason game on Friday in Oakland.