By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. — Saturday was a big day for Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf, who got his first collegiate start. Chelf bested a one-time Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback to become the third Cowboy QB to earn a conference victory this season.
And to think, it could have never of been for the Enid native.
After being slotted as the third-string quarterback over the summer, nobody would have faulted Chelf for transfering to get an opportunity to play college football. Instead, the junior stuck it out in Stillwater - and his coaches are more than happy he did.
"The only thing I can say about Clint right now is that I'm very happy that he decided to stay with us," OSU coach Mike Gundy said after Saturday's win over West Virginia. "We thought there was a chance he may leave in the summer. He stayed here and it's not been easy for him this season. But I'm glad he's here.
"We've told him, that if any time he gets a chance, he needs to make the most of it. Sometimes that is coach's talk, but he certainly has. So we're very proud of him and just glad he's stayed. He's learned a good life lesson."
Playing backup to a first-round draft pick, Chelf was relegated to third-stringer after the spring practice when the coaching staff liked what they saw from freshmen Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh. Instead of leaving OSU, where his older brother completed his college playing days, Chelf embraced his new role and it eventually paid off for him.
Leading OSU to a late rally against second-ranked Kansas State last week, he was handed the reigns against West Virginia as OSU was without the services of Lunt (out due to concussion-related symptoms sustained against Kansas State) and Walsh (just returning from a knee injury sustained against Iowa State).
The Cowboy players embraced Chelf this week, with Twitter hashtags and breaking of practice huddles in support of the junior quarterback.
"I think it was very important for us to show we had his back, just to give him that confidence that we needed from him in order to step up and make the plays like he did," cornerback Justin Gilbert said.
The team felt it necessary after Chelf proved his dedication to Oklahoma State and this team back in summer, when instead of bolting, he stayed to see things through with the Cowboys.
"No matter how much he played, he stayed with it, learned more - not only for himself, but for the team," receiver Josh Stewart said. "He never knew that his chance was going to come. But with him staying with it, it has worked out for him. And we're excited for him."