Oh what Chelf wouldn't give for a simple incompletion, a sack even, on that one misguided throw.
“Gosh, you wish he'd have gotten hit harder and the ball ended up on the ground incomplete,” said offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
“It just happened at the wrong time.”
Said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy: “You can take away any plays, but if you take away the one pick-6, you have a 560-yard day (offensively) and you score 34 points and you probably feel different. But when you give them a free one like we did, it makes it difficult to overcome.”
The final score suggests a rally, and there was the appearance of one. But there was never a sense that the Cowboys could climb all the way back. Even with the defense showing some teeth for the first time, holding Baylor to 10 second-half points, there just weren't enough explosive plays or drive-extending conversions.
“Yeah, we got a couple scores late and it kind of got us back in it,” Monken said. “But when it mattered, we were just choppy. We had some calls we could have made, some plays we could have made. And it starts with me. I just didn't do a good enough job.”
Chelf tossed a second interception that wasn't at all his fault, glancing off the hands of Stewart before the pick. Blake Jackson dropped two would-be touchdowns in the end zone. And there were other drops, too, so plenty of blame to be shared.
Still, the spotlight always finds the quarterback.
Chelf's feel-good ride from third-team guy to successful starter has suddenly hit some bumps. Not in the road, but on the road, with back-to-back losses at OU and Baylor, following a 2-0 beginning as a starter at home against West Virginia and Texas Tech.
“The last two weeks on the road, it's taught me a lot about momentum swings and playing to the crowd and not having your crowd,” Chelf said, “and just being with the group of guys on the team and relying on them.
“At home sometimes, you can feed off the crowd. On the road, you've got to feed off each other. A big learning experience for me.”