Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken stood there Saturday, bragging like a proud papa about J.W. Walsh's toughness.
And Monken didn't yet know the half of it, unaware that Walsh — “dinged up” in the first quarter — had actually played on with a serious knee injury that will now cost him the remainder of the season.
That was the bombshell dropped Sunday, when head coach Mike Gundy revealed OSU's latest body blow during his regular teleconference with the media. Walsh, himself in a replacement role for the injured Wes Lunt, is done.
Now the focus flips back to Lunt, and the hope — need — for a speedier recovery.
Or it could finally find senior Clint Chelf, the odd man out in the spring quarterback derby, now the one man standing at 100 percent.
Walsh, with a bum knee, would finish with 415 passing yards, the ninth-best passing day in school history and a key component in a solid 31-10 win. Ran for 49 yards, too, including a 3-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.
Later, Walsh strolled into the postgame press conference, answered a bevy of questions and hinted of nothing wrong, even declared himself to be “100 percent.”
When the adrenaline wore off, apparently, concern and probably inflammation crept in.
“He finished the game and he ran, made throws,” Gundy said Sunday. “I'm speaking a little bit out of turn here, because it wasn't an injury that progressively got worse. It just happened, and then he was able to play with the pain.
“I can only say that it was a pretty amazing performance. I would hate to use that term for a guy or a player on my team that's only a freshman, but for him to finish the game the way he did, and run the football and never say a word was really a terrific performance.”
Walsh played so well in essentially guiding three of OSU's four wins that the quarterback job was about to gain intrigue, with Lunt nearing a healthy return.
Instead, the intrigue shifts to Lunt's availability, with TCU headed for Stillwater on Saturday.
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege just lit up the Horned Frogs for seven touchdown throws in a wild 56-53 triple-overtime win. Maybe that game film will provide some special healing powers for Lunt's ailing knee and ankle.
If Lunt still isn't quite ready to go, Chelf stands ready, just as he has in two seasons backing up Brandon Weeden and this season behind Lunt and Walsh.
It's always been his dream to be the Cowboys starting quarterback. And he's stayed patient within the concept that you never know when your time will come.
“I'm not going to give up on that,” Chelf said back in August, “until there's absolutely zero chance.”
The way this injury-marred season keeps spinning for the Cowboys, anything's possible.
“It's kind of the way it is,” Gundy said. “You can only control what you can control. For me as a coach, I just hate it for the player … it just tears you up inside.
“As a team, we're fine. We rally, other guys play and we keep rolling. But it's just a heartbreaker for the coach when you see a young man that's out for the year.”