ENID, Okla. —
Clint Chelf’s legacy at Oklahoma State should go beyond his inspirational story of twice taking the Cowboy quarterback reins after being regalgated to the bench.
He was 9-4 in his 13 starts as a quarterback, which, with a little luck, could have been 13-0.
He certainly couldn’t have been faulted for the four losses, two of which were heartbreakers to archrival Oklahoma.
Both times OU scored in the final seconds to thwart Chelf and the Cowboys — the first with four seconds left to force overtime in an eventual 51-48 Sooner win and the second with 19 seconds left to overcome a then-24-21 deficit.
If OSU’s Justin Gilbert had been able to come up with that interception in the final minute of this year’s Bedlam game, Chelf would have not only a win over the Sooners, but a second Big 12 championship ring.
Chelf was 19 of 37 for 253 yards and one score in 2012 and was 19 of 35 for 200 yards and a score in 2013. He ran for 63 yards on 12 carries in 2012 and 16 yards on five carries in 2013.
Chelf’s only other two losses were to Baylor, 41-34 in 2012, a game where he was 30 of 51 passing for a then-career-high 333 yards and two TDs, and the 41-31 loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl where he was 35 of 57 passing for a career-high 381 yards and two TDs. OSU was marching for at least a game-tying field goal when Chelf was blind sided and fumbled, which Shane Ray returned 73 yards for the deciding score.
He didn’t do too badly in victories either.
His best game at OSU was when he directed the Cowboys to a 49-17 upset of then-No. 3-ranked Baylor. He completed 19 of 25 passes for a career-high 370 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score. Against then No. 23 Texas, he was 16 of 22 passing for 197 yards and two scores and rushed for 95 yards on 10 carries and another two scores.
Against No. 15 Texas Tech, he earned Big 12 offensive player of the week honors after hitting on 18 of 34 passes for 211 yards and two TDs and running for 88 yards on six carries and two scores.
He had been the MVP in the Cowboys’ 58-14 win over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl after completing 17 of 22 passes for 197 yards and three scores.
Chelf was underrated as a runner. He ran for 369 yards on 64 carries, a 5.76 average. J.W. Walsh, who had unseated Chelf as the starter for five games and was considered the superior runner, averaged 5.1 yards a carry this season.
Chelf leaves OSU as:
• No. 6 in career passing yards (4,281) behind Brandon Weeden (9,260), Mike Gundy (8,473), Zac Robinson (8,317), Josh Fields (6.090) and Tone’ Jones (4,812).
• No. 5 in touchdowns passes (37) behind Weeden (75), Robinson (66), Gundy (57) and Fields (55).
• No. 3 in completion percentage (.593) behind only Weeden (69.5) and Robinson (61.1) and just ahead of Gundy (59.0).
• No. 4 in average yards per pass (7.97) behind Weeden (8.4), Robinson (8.3) and Donovan Woods (8.2). He had been No. 1 (8.6) going into the season.
• No. 9 in total offense (4,782).
• No. 8 in touchdowns accounted for — 44 (37 passing and seven running).
Not bad stats for someone who was not highly recruited (rated No. 34 dual-threat quarterback by Rivals) coming out of Enid.
Sand Springs’ Johnny Deaton, recruited a year after Chelf, had been rated the No. 6 dual threat quarterback by Rivals and the ninth best quarterback in the country.Yet, Chelf ended up as the No. 1 quarterback and Deaton finished at Northeastern Oklahoma State.
Chelf’s heart was even better than his arm or legs.
He will be missed.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.