The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 20, 2013

OSU QB debate back on

STILLWATER, Okla. — Mike Gundy should be accustomed to answering questions about his quarterback situation by now.

It’s still a topic of conversation after the Oklahoma State coach benched starter J.W. Walsh after his last interception in favor of senior Clint Chelf, who led the No. 19 Cowboys to a 24-10 win over TCU on Saturday.

“We felt like we needed a spark on offense, so we made a change,” Gundy said. “We played Clint, and we’ll evaluate our offense this week and our game plan for the next team and decide which direction we want to go.”

As much as Gundy didn’t want to discuss his quarterback controversy in the offseason, he has spent quite a bit of time lately talking — and facing questions — about it.

Chelf lost the starting job to Walsh after OSU’s season-opening win over Mississippi State, and the senior could be in line to earn it back in time for this week’s game at Iowa State.

Gundy said it was too early to determine which quarterback will get the bulk of the reps in practice, adding that he first wanted to look at footage from the win over TCU.

Walsh made his fifth consecutive start Saturday against TCU, but the sophomore was pulled early in the second quarter after throwing his second interception.

He finished 9-of-18 passing for 115 yards, and his two interceptions came on a day when OSU (5-1, 2-1 Big 12 Conference) committed four turnovers. TCU also had four turnovers.

“The turnovers are what got us,” Gundy said. “We had the two interceptions where our quarterback got hit releasing the ball, and then we made a poor decision in the end zone on an interception.”

Gundy acknowledged Walsh’s interception thrown into tight coverage in the middle of the end zone was the last straw. He decided to make a change and turn to Chelf to get OSU’s high-powered offense back on track.

“I think it comes to a certain point where you have to make a decision,” Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “I don’t know if it was exactly this or that. It was just time, I guess.”

However, the quarterback change didn’t produce immediate results. Chelf’s first pass was intercepted, but he responded by leading the Cowboys on a pair of scoring drives before halftime to give them a 17-0 lead.

While OSU scored only seven points in the second half, Chelf ran for a first down and helped set up Rennie Childs’ 7-yard touchdown run with 6:04 remaining that halted TCU’s momentum.

Chelf’s passing numbers weren’t that much better than Walsh’s, completing only 10 of 25 passes for 178 yards with one interception. Still, Gundy said Chelf had a “good” performance and managed the game “pretty well.”

“In this game, Clint gave us some advantages in attacking their defense, in our opinion,” Gundy said.

Neither Chelf or Walsh were available to the media after the game.

Gundy has more issues to resolve than just his quarterback situation.

OSU had two weeks to prepare for TCU, thanks to its second bye week in a month. But the Cowboys struggled with their running game, gaining just 95 yards on 35 carries.

Meanwhile, kicker Ben Grogan made only one of his three field-goal attempts. He missed kicks of 31 and 32 yards in the second quarter that would have given OSU even more breathing room heading into halftime.

“We’re definitely the type of team that can perform with our backs against the wall,” OSU wide receiver Tracy Moore said. “Obviously, we would rather not be in a dogfight every week, but you just have to get it done when you have the chance.”ꆱ

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