Oklahoma State's two-quarterback rotation clarified early Saturday.
Clint Chelf started the game and played two series. J.W. Walsh went the rest of the way.
And now it looks like OSU has a one-quarterback rotation, with Cowboys coach Mike Gundy announcing Walsh as the starter next week at Texas-San Antonio and all but saying it's a one-man gig.
None of it went over well with Colton Chelf, Clint's big brother and former Cowboys receiver, who fired off a tweet that quickly made the rounds on Twitter:
“2 series lol @CoachGundy your a chicken (poop).”
Colton, ironically, joined OSU as a walk-on and was eventually put on scholarship by Gundy.
Clint's two series running the offense netted 21 yards, including five that came courtesy of a penalty on the Mississippi defense, leading to the only first down of those possessions.
Gundy, unaware of the tweet, still had praise after the game for Clint, who was MVP of the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
“Clint's very, very important to us,” Gundy said. “I'm not trying to just make him feel good or justify anything. But after what happened today, I can't imagine that we won't feel like that J.W. needs to start the next game.
“We'll talk to Clint. He's been great for us. Things didn't go well early.”
COWBOYS OVERCOME ADVERSITY IN RUN GAME
OSU lost starting left tackle Devin Davis to knee surgery in the weeks leading into the opener, robbing an already thin offensive line of perhaps its best player.
Gundy revealed more concerns with Parker Graham and Daniel Koenig, the two starters at tackle Saturday, who missed time to nagging injuries during the week. Chris Grisbhy, in the picture to move into a starting role, suffered a broken hand and played sparingly.
“We had all three (tackles) out at one time, so our production in practice as an offense was not very good, which affects the quarterback's timing, which affects the running game, which affects the coaches' psyche, the way they think,” Gundy said.
Still, the Cowboys ran big, posting a 286-yard rushing total, the most since going for 330 against Louisiana-Lafayette early last season.
Jeremy Smith ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Walsh led all rushers with 125 yards – more than any Cowboys quarterback since Zac Robinson went for 144 against Baylor in 2007 –and a score. Smith's backup, Desmond Roland, added 46 yards on 10 carries.
“Gotta credit the line, man,” Smith said. “We can't run without those guys. They were opening holes everywhere.”
The Cowboys produced 170 yards of their rushing total in the second half, seemingly wearing down the Bulldogs defense up front.
“Coming in, we didn't picture it to go that well,” Roland said. “But we've been grinding for two weeks straight. The whole line has been working hard. We feel good about it.”
With Davis out, Brandon Webb started at left guard, Travis Cross made his first start at right guard, while Graham moved outside to left tackle. Zac Veatch and Brandon Garrett played as backups, along with Grisbhy.
“There was just some things that happened that you can't control in preseason camp,” Gundy said. “Don't get me wrong, it happens everywhere. Everybody has issues in preseason camp, but it was just real specific for us. It was unusual. But it worked out for us.”
LEWIS REWRITES RELIANT MEMORY
For Shaun Lewis, Saturday marked a return to Reliant Stadium.
And it offered a chance for a better ending.
As a junior at Fort Bend Hightower, Lewis made the state championship game with his team, losing to Allen, 21-14.
“Best game of my high school career,” Lewis said, “except we lost.
“That was bittersweet.”
Lewis received a reminder of that game early Saturday.
“My mom actually texted me this morning and reminded me of the last time I played here,” Lewis said. “I thought about it a little bit. But at the same time, I had a task to do today, so I couldn't dwell on it too long.
“It felt good. To play as dominant as we did today, and for us to have fun out there, it was so surreal to be back in this exact same stadium doing it.”
ROLAND'S TD OVERRULED
With the Cowboys ahead 7-3 and in place for more, Roland found himself wide open in the end zone.
Walsh found him, too, but threw to Roland's outside shoulder, requiring the running back to make a spinning, circus catch on the sideline.
It was Roland's first career catch and touchdown reception – until replay officials overturned the call, ruling that Roland was out of bounds.
“I'm not going to give (Walsh) a hard time about that,” Roland said. “He came in and apologized. I told him, ‘It's all right, we're going to score anyways.' We ended up doing that a few plays later. “As long as we get the W or the touchdown, it's all good.”
* The Cowboys wore black helmets, white jerseys and black pants for the second time since becoming a Nike school with a multitude of uniform options. The first time wearing that combo came against Texas in 2011, which was also a Cowboy victory.
* True freshmen who played in the game include kicker Ben Grogan, receiver Marcell Ateman and safeties Deric Roberton and Taylor Lewis.
* With the win, the Cowboys are now 67-40-5 all-time in season-openers, 13-1 in their last 14 nonconference games, 4-0 in their last four neutral-site games and 8-1 in their last nine games played in the state of Texas. Gundy also moves to 8-1 in season openers as a head coach.