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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys have their running back, but what about quarterback?

BERRY TRAMEL COMMENTARY — Oklahoma State came out of Saturday's game with one question answered and one major question remaining. The question answered? Desmond Roland at running back. The question remaining? Can OSU get consistent play from its quarterback?
by Berry Tramel Published: October 26, 2013

Clint Chelf kept breaking free for big chunks of yardage or cunningly reading the defense to hand off to Des Roland for huge gains.

But Chelf also kept throwing the ball into the ground or behind intended receivers.

And the Cowboys rolled, 58-27 Saturday over Iowa State.

Can this OSU quarterback conundrum get any kookier?

The Cowboys' passing quarterback, Chelf, is a better runner. The Cowboys' running quarterback, J.W. Walsh, is the more productive passer.

Let's get off the backs of Mike Gundy and Mike Yurcich. Cut them some slack. Who can blame them for not knowing what's going on with State quarterbacks this season?

But while OSU didn't find its QB in Jack Trice Stadium, the Cowboys most definitely found their tailback. Roland rushed for 219 yards on 26 carries, and when OSU runs the ball like that, the Cowboys always ride a little higher.

“I'm happy with the win,” Yurcich said. “Happy with the guys, the way we carried ourselves. The way we performed. The results. At the same time, there's a lot of stuff to get better at.”

No kidding. In the 6 1/2 quarters since Chelf was inserted into the lineup, he's completed 20 of 51 passes. That's sub-40 percent. That's shaky for 1959, much less the 21st-century Cowboys, who in recent years have helped shape the dynamic offenses of college football.

“I don't think he threw the ball very well today,” Gundy said of Chelf. “We have to be better throwing as a team.”

Absotively. If the Cowboys are to remain Big 12 title contenders – Texas Tech, Texas, Baylor and OU are fast-approaching -- they've got to wing it with efficiency.

That didn't happen Saturday, but no matter. Chelf's arm seems flummoxed, but his legs were fine and his decision-making solid.

Chelf produced more rushing yards than passing yards – 85-78 – and had almost as many runs (nine) as passes completed (10). You might expect that out of Walsh (who against Mississippi State had 135 yards passing and 125 yards rushing). But Chelf?

“Clint played great,” said guard Parker Graham, being a supportive teammate. “He had a couple of really long scampers. It's kind of funny. A lot of guys think that J.W.'s the runner, but Clint's got a little bit of speed to him to and he can run the ball a little bit.”

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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