Oklahoma State football: Season-in-review report card

by Gina Mizell Modified: December 28, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: December 27, 2013

Oklahoma State students finished their finals about three weeks ago.

Still, it's time to give out some final grades for OSU's 2013 football season, where the Cowboys tallied 10 wins and controlled their Big 12 title destiny heading into Bedlam.

Yes, OSU still has a game to play. But bowl games can generally be regarded as extra credit.

QUARTERBACKS: B-

First, a reminder these grades assess the entire season, not just where the Cowboys ultimately ended up.

And for a large chunk of the year, OSU's offense was very average.

That started with quarterback J.W. Walsh, who struggled with accuracy, consistency and, still, arm strength. His final regular-season numbers: 59.5 completion percentage, 1,333 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions to go with 294 rushing yards and three scores.

Walsh was pulled in the second quarter of the TCU game on Oct. 19 and only saw action in mop-up duty after that. His short-yardage and goal-line package used last season even disappeared.

Clint Chelf, who started the season opener but was replaced after two series, wasn't great after being re-inserted against the Horned Frogs. He passed for just 78 yards the next week against Iowa State.

But the Cowboy offense steadily improved week-by-week with Chelf behind center (and even under center!) after that, helping propel the Cowboys to seven consecutive wins before Bedlam.

Chelf ended the season as the second-team All-Big 12 quarterback, completing 56 percent of his passes for 1,792 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also became quite the effective runner, with 321 yards on 53 carries and six scores.

RUNNING BACKS: B-

Here's your second reminder these grades assess the entire season, not just where the Cowboys ultimately ended up.

No way around this: Jeremy Smith's senior season, where he was supposed to take over for Joseph Randle and become the Cowboys' next big-time back, did not go as planned.

Smith struggled as the starter throughout the first half of the season, often dancing behind the line of scrimmage and trying to bounce outside rather than using the power approach that made him a prime short-yardage and goal-line complementary back during his first three seasons.

Some of Smith's game lines? One yard on 15 carries against West Virginia, 14 yards on 12 carries against TCU and 34 yards on 12 carries against Texas-San Antonio.

In Smith's defense, he was also largely playing behind a line that hadn't found its best combination yet. Still, a change ultimately needed to be made.

Desmond Roland had a spectacular starting debut, racking up 219 yards and four touchdowns at Iowa State. And he proved ready to be the every-down back, blending a rugged, downhill approach with deceptive speed and cutting ability to finish with 745 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also a viable receiver, with eight catches for 80 yards and three touchdowns.

At fullback, Kye Staley recovered from early-season injuries to keep his status as a tough lead blocker and even became a spot ball carrier down the stretch (nine carries, 32 yards, two touchdowns). Jeremy Seaton, meanwhile, became a sneaky receiving threat, with six catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns.

RECEIVERS: A-

Even as virtually every other position group went through personnel switches and other adjustments, the Cowboy receivers remained steady.

Josh Stewart didn't put up the same gaudy numbers as his breakout sophomore season but remained one of the most versatile weapons in the Big 12 with 52 catches, 623 yards and two touchdowns as a shifty slot target. He also tallied eight rushing attempts for 42 yards, with a couple of those coming while taking straight handoffs as a running back at Texas Tech.

The Moores — Tracy and Charlie — were the Cowboys' big-play threats, combining for more than 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Jhajuan Seales showed loads of potential in tallying 36 catches for 529 yards and two scores in his debut season.

Youngsters like true freshman Marcell Ateman (18 catches, 240 yards) and sophomores Brandon Sheperd (11 catches, 187 yards) and David Glidden (14 catches, 168 yards) helped ease injury blows to Blake Jackson, Austin Hays and Blake Webb.

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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