Early on in the 2013 season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were suffering from a lack of offensive identity. OSU was undecided between quarterbacks and didn’t seem to have their usual high-octane rhythm offensively that has made them so dangerous in recent years. It cost them on a trip to Morgantown against the West Virginia Mountaineers earlier this season but Mike Gundy got his team on the right track when it mattered most and has the Pokes in position to wrap up the Big 12 title this week against the Oklahoma Sooners. The difference for this offense has been the emergence of Clint Chelf as a leader and playmaker on this team.
Chelf originally lost the starting quarterback job to J.W. Walsh because of Walsh’s added ability to run the football and create positive plays with his legs. But the offense sputtered with Walsh under center despite his rushing ability, so Gundy turned the team back over to Chelf and committed to establishing the running game. This time, the senior quarterback is holding on tight to the starter’s job.
Since the offense got on track earlier this year against the Iowa State Cyclones, Chelf has been efficiently making plays for the Cowboys’ offense. In the last five games, he’s thrown at least one touchdown pass as he’s racked up 1,121 yards with 11 touchdown passes to four interceptions. He’s even showed the ability to make plays with his legs as well, rushing for five touchdowns during their last five games. And he saved his best for their biggest game of the year last week against the high-flying Baylor Bears.
On the night, Chelf was 19-of-25 passing for a season-high 370 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. While he was held to negative rushing yards on the night, he still found a way to find the endzone on the ground and his four total touchdowns paced the Cowboys to a 49-17 blowout of Baylor, wrestling control of the conference race away from the upstart Bears.On a night when he was lined up from a Heisman Trophy candidate in Bryce Petty, it was Chelf who looked like the quarterback that was on his way to New York City.
The road to the Fiesta Bowl now runs through Stillwater, just as the Oklahoma State Cowboys want it to be. Their turnaround came at the perfect time for their push to a Big 12 title and it has hinged on the growth of Clint Chelf at quarterback. Can he lead them the rest of the way to a BCS bid?