The Oklahoma State Cowboys have some big questions heading into their Big 12 road trip to Ames this weekend where they take on a tough Iowa State Cyclones team focused on pulling off an upset. Chief on the mind of Mike Gundy heading into this weekend is the quarterback situation for OSU which has been an absolute circus since before the season started. Both Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh have started games this season but neither has taken hold of the position. With the Cowboys gearing up for a run at the Big 12 title, who will lead the OSU offense?
They need to figure out their plan of attack in a hurry. Iowa State, though just 1-5 on the season, has been a tough out for some of the conference’s leading contenders this season. They very nearly pulled off the upset of the Texas Longhorns that might have ended Mack Brown‘s tenure there before allowing a late touchdown to lose by one. The next week, they hung with the Texas Tech Red Raiders for four quarters but allowed Kliff Kingsbury to run more than 100 plays on offense which made it difficult to take the lead. In all, four of their five losses have been one-possession games.
If Oklahoma State can’t figure out their offense, they might be the team that the Cyclones finally break through against in a close game. Last week, Chelf came on in relief of Walsh and was slightly more effective in getting the Cowboys into scoring opportunities against the TCU Horned Frogs. The team was really bailed out by a dynamic performance from wide receiver Josh Stewart, who returned a punt return 95 yards for a touchdown. Chelf has shown a better ability to throw the ball down the field, which many feel would help open up the offense a bit more, while Walsh is a more athletic quarterback who can create plays with his legs.
The best course of action against Iowa State will be to use both quarterbacks, primarily Chelf in the base offensive sets while working Walsh into the offense with specific play-calls and packages in certain situations. That’s the way that the offense ran at the end of last season and would allow both quarterbacks to contribute to the offense without having the brunt of responsibility thrust onto them. It would also give Iowa State a bit more to think about, preparing for two different quarterbacks who run the offense in drastically different ways.
Either way, someone needs to step up and lead this offense if Oklahoma State hopes to escape Ames with a win. Will it be Chelf, Walsh or some combination of the two? We’ll have to wait and see.