Smith's interception return for a score in the waning seconds propels NU to 24-17 road victory over Minnesota.
Career: Talented running back who emerged his junior season (2007) when starting tailback Tyrell Sutton was shelved several weeks with an injury ... A non-contact injury in early November of 2008 ended his career ... Gave NU a great one-two punch at running back, perhaps one of the best nationally (along with Sutton) ... Team's biggest running back ... Added a more physical running style to the NU backfield ... An outstanding receiver, as well ... Finished with six career starts and 731 career rushing yards and 1,191 career all-purpose yards.
2008: True senior ... Suffered a non-contact drill injury to his left knee at practice (Nov. 5) and did not play against Ohio State ... Underwent career-ending surgery on Nov. 7 ... Carried 12 times for 71 yards vs. Syracuse, including a long of 20 yards ... Against Ohio, totaled 35 yards on 16 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter ... Carried six times against Southern Illinois, picking up 24 yards, and caught one pass for one yard ... At Duke, had four carries for six yards, including the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with 9:04 remaining in the fourth, and returned one kickoff for 13 yards ... Also caught three passes for 26 yards ... One carry for five yards vs. Michigan State ... Against Purdue, carried eight times for 49 yards, including a 14-yard fourth-quarter TD run, the third of his career ... Also caught one pass for 11 yards ... Rushed 10 times for 33 yards and caught a 7-yard pass at Indiana ... Started his first game of 2008 at Minnesota in place of an injured Tyrell Sutton, gaining 12 yards on 12 carries and catching three passes for 11 yards.
2007: Started first career game at Ohio State (Sept. 22) ... Started five games (Ohio State through EMU) ... Saw considerable action with Tyrell Sutton sidelined ... Had his top four career performances from Sept. 29 through Oct. 19: 15 rushes for 115 yards and one TD, a 49-yard scamper that was NU's longest run from scrimmage this season, against Michigan; a career-high 149 yards all-purpose yards (70 rushing, 79 receiving) at MSU; career-high-tying 149 all-purpose yards vs. Minnesota (81 rushing, 68 receiving); and a career-high 122 rushing yards and a TD vs. EMU ... His first career rushing TD was the 49-yarder vs. Michigan ... Also had four receptions for 24 yards for 139 all-purpose yards ... Averaged a game-best 7.7 ypc vs. Michigan ... Scored three TD's -- two rushing and one receiving -- at MSU ... His receiving TD, a 12-yard grab, was the game-winning score in OT ... Caught his first collegiate reception, which turned into his first collegiate TD -- a 16-yard play -- against Nevada ... Two rushes and catches vs. Duke ... 10 rushing yards at Purdue ... Led NU in rushes (15) and yards (28) at OSU ... Missed two games (Iowa and Indiana) with an injury ... Ranked third on team in all-purpose yards (68.9 per game) and second in rushing (44.7 pg).
2006: True sophomore who primarily played special teams ... Earned his season's first two carries (11 yards) at Wisconsin ... Named team's special teams player of the week vs. MSU.
2005: True freshman who played primarily on special teams ... Suffered a regular-season-ending knee injury at Michigan State ... Came back and was available for the Sun Bowl game vs. UCLA ... Backup running back and kickoff returner ... Totaled first five rushes (for 21 yards) vs. Ohio (Sept. 3) ... Notched a career-long kickoff return (24 yards) vs. Arizona State.
High School: Rated as the country's 45th-best running back by Rivals.com ... Two-time first-team all-district (2003 and '04) and a 2004 second-team all-region running back ... Turned in one of Texas' top single-season performances by rushing for 2,130 yards (268 carries, 7.9 ypc) and 29 touchdowns for the 7-3 Bobcats ... Ran for a career-high 390 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-15 win over Jersey Village ... Two-time team MVP (2003 and '04) ... Team captain ... Also caught nine passes for 138 yards (15.3 ypr) and two touchdowns ... Tabbed the player of the game for Texas in the Third Annual Bayou Bowl vs. Louisiana ... Totaled 99 rushing yards on 10 carries and scored Texas' only TD in a 10-7 loss ... Won district track and field titles in the long and triple jumps his junior year ... Member of school's Honor Roll ... Coached by Ed Pustejovsky.
Personal: Born Omar Tejan Conteh ... Son of Haroun Conteh and Ann Dunn ... Communication studies major and business institutions minor.
The Conteh File
Q: Name five favorite songs (and artist) on your I-Pod:
A: Earth, Wind, & Fire -- "Reasons," Rick Ross -- "I'm So High" (Remix), 112 -- "Cupid," Rick Ross ft. Jay Z -- "Maybach Music," Lil Wayne ft. Jay Z -- "Mr. Carter"
Q: If you could dine with anyone from any period in history, who would it be?
A: MLK JR. because he is a peacemaker
Q: What is the greatest lesson in life that you have learned?
A: FIGHT, never give up your dreams, you want something go get it
Q: My favorite place to visit is:
A: Africa, went there when I was young, most fun I've had
Q: Which current NU football player is the biggest jokester on the team?
A: HMMM...depends on what type of jokes, but maybe Marshall Thomas
Q: My favorite thing about NU is:
A: Everyone is close
Q: Best part about being a Northwestern football player is:
A: Being a role model to little kids and just the fact I am a football player
Q: Describe Coach Fitzgerald in five words or less:
A: Intense, confident, determined, wise, understanding
Q: Describe your position coach in five words or less:
A: Cocky, funny, stern, jokester, attitude
Q: Most humbling experience:
A: Summer before coming to NU I went to a children's hospital and got to hang out with them
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
A: As of this moment my greatest achievement is going to a prestigious college, getting a great education and playing in the Big Ten
Q: The best book I have ever read is:
A: Too many, can't think of one
Q: The person that inspires me the most is:
A: My mom
Q: When I played football as a kid, I pretended to be:
A: Emmitt Smith
Q: My favorite pregame ritual is:
A: Listening to 2pac
Q: If you could have a starring role in any film already made, which movie would you pick?
A: Scarface or Godfather
Q: My favorite food is:
A: Fried chicken
Q: My favorite thing about playing at Ryan Field is:
A: The game-day atmosphere
Q: Best thing about Northwestern is:
A: The campus, nice campus, easy access to places
Q: My ultimate SportsCenter highlight would be:
A: Me running down the middle breaking through every defender, I mean every defender, all 11, just making them look silly, then jump in the end zone and do a little dance or something
Q: My favorite television show is:
A: The Boondocks
Q: If I were not playing football, I would be:
A: In school for Architecture
Q: The three words that best describe me:
A: Determined, confident and independent
Q: My football-related superstition is:
A: It's a secret