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Oklahoma State football: Clint Chelf nearly runs Cowboys past Sooners

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Making his first start on the road, and only his third start since ascending from third-stringer to starter, Chelf and his Cowboys took the Sooners to overtime and to the brink.
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 24, 2012

NORMAN — The quarterback scrambled around the Owen Field turf, elluding tacklers and outrunning defenders.

J.C. Watts? Thomas Lott? Jamelle Holieway?

Nah, Clint Chelf.

In the strangest twist yet to the Oklahoma State quarterback's improbable rise, he spent much of Saturday afternoon running wild on Sooner soil. The Cowboys knew he was going to have to run for them to beat the Sooners.

Darned if it almost didn't work.

OU 51, OSU 48.

Making his first start on the road — and only his third start since ascending from third-stringer to starter — Chelf and his Cowboys took the Sooners to overtime and to the brink. Stretched them like few thought they would in this post Weeden-to-Blackmon era. Stretched them in every way imaginable.

No one did that better than Chelf.

“I knew coming in that I was going to have to be a ballcarrier and take some shots and get up and show the team that ‘It doesn't matter what happens, just keep fighting,'” Chelf said. “I was trying to do that.”

He did that and then some.

After OSU started with a three-and-out, it put the ball in Chelf's hands. He had a 2-yard run on first down, then busted right up the middle on second down. The designed quarterback draw went for 38 yards.

Four plays later — including another Chelf run — the Cowboys were into the end zone.

Chelf ran for 52 yards on that touchdown drive.

He'd run for 53 yards in his career prior to that.

We knew Chelf could scramble around if he needed to avoid pressure, but we didn't know he could run.

“Early on,” Cowboy offensive coordinator Todd Monken said, “that kind of gave us a spark.”

Set a tone, too. OSU wasn't backing down. Not on the road. Not in a hostile environment. Not at all.

But those runs were more than tone setters. They helped establish a new wrinkle to the Cowboy offense. Last season, that wrinkle was going run heavy and tailback dominant. Brandon Weeden didn't throw a touchdown pass, but the Cowboys still won going away. This season, those Chelf runs gave the Cowboys another bullet in their gun.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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