By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State is in the midst of yet another quarterback controversy following Saturday’s Homecoming contest with Texas Christian University.
With starter J.W. Walsh struggling to move the ball at times — and being careless with the ball — Coach Mike Gundy made the early decision to replace him with senior Clint Chelf, who had been replaced by Walsh after two series into the season.
“We felt like we needed a spark on offense so we made a change,” said Gundy, who pulled Walsh after three drives that resulted in two turnovers and a punt. “We played Clint, and we’ll evaluate our offense this week and our gameplan for the next team and decide which direction we want to go.”
The move proved to be best for Oklahoma State. After a rough first go for Chelf, he appeared to dust off the rust and lead the Cowboys to a 24-10 victory over the Horned Frogs.
Walsh threw his first interception on the opening drive of the game, on third-and-10 with a TCU blitz forcing him to hurry the pass. Miscommunication on the rout by Josh Stewart allowed Horned Frog safety Derrick Kendrid to step into the passing lane.
Walsh, who was not made available to the media following the contest, killed another scoring opportunity with OSU moving the ball down to the TCU 2-yard line. After recovering a fumbled snap on first down, Walsh threw into double coverage on second down and was intercepted in the end zone.
“It’s a combination of things. You’re playing against a team that has been very, very effective at stopping people and eliminating people from scoring points,” Gundy said of the decision to pull Walsh. “There’s just differences we feel like you have to attack them. In this game, Clint gave us some advantages in attacking their defense.”
That series of miscues led to Gundy pulling Walsh, who finished the day going 9 for 18 for 115 yards and two interceptions, for Chelf. The Enid native didn’t fair much better, as his first throw was intercepted while facing pressure, he just threw it up in one-on-one coverage.
What Chelf was able to do, though, was put together drives for the Cowboy offense.
After his interception, Chelf led OSU on back-to-back scoring drives in the second quarter to give the Pokes a 17-0 lead. The senior signal caller also drove the Cowboys into field goal range right before halftime — but freshman Ben Grogan missed his second field goal from within 35 yards.
“I thought he played good. I have to watch the tape. I know on the interception he threw, he got hit,” Gundy said of Chelf, who was not made available to the media following the victory. “There were a couple of throws that didn’t look good, but I think there were reasons for that. Overall, I thought he managed the game pretty well.”
Fortunately for Oklahoma State, TCU’s quarterback had just as many problems throwing the ball. The Horned Frogs weren’t able to take advantage of OSU’s slow start with their quarterback Trevone Boykin, throwing three interceptions, getting sacked twice, completing less than 50 percent of his passes — 17 of 35 for 188 yards — and fumbling the ball twice, though both times they were recovered by TCU.
On top of the three interceptions, the Oklahoma State defense also recovered a fumble by backup quarterback Tyler Matthews — who was in briefly for Boykin late in the first half.
OSU held the Horned Frogs to just 62 yards of offense in the first half, and while the Cowboys gave up some yardage in the second half, TCU didn’t jump on the scoreboard until the final two minutes of the third quarter with a field goal.
“Great defenses play with great emotion and great intensity. We’re trying to be that, and we’re nowhere close to that,” defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “All we think about is doing enough this game to win, and we did.”
As for Oklahoma State’s future at quarterback, Gundy and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said they were going to wait until evaluating the game film on Sunday to make any decision on the position going forward.
“(Chelf) played well enough to win the ball game. You’re always going to have some things on film that you need to correct — turnovers are never acceptable,” Yurcich said. “But overall, he won the game. ... But we’ll look at the tape, have some discussions and go from there.”
The first-year offensive coordinator did not balk at the possibility of utilizing both quarterbacks — which is something OSU did last season when Walsh came back from injury and Chelf was the starting quarterback.
“I think that’s a possibility. They are two good quarterbacks,” Yurcich said. “They’re not playing as well as they should, and I’m not coaching them as well as I should, obviously. But it’s a work in progress and we believe in both of them.”