He returned against TCU in late October, showing some early rust but throwing for 324 yards in an OSU win. But the next week, in front of a hostile crowd at No. 3 Kansas State, Lunt sustained a concussion early in the second half.
“I was very devastated, very frustrated,” Lunt said. “But Clint (Chelf) came in and did a great job. It was frustrating, but that's part of it. Injuries are going to happen.”
Lunt never saw the field again until the waning minutes of a Heart of Dallas Bowl blowout against Purdue. He stayed motivated by leaning on his faith and family back home in Rochester, Ill. He also relied on the relationships he had developed with his OSU coaches and teammates, especially his fellow quarterbacks in Chelf and J.W. Walsh, who all insist they are genuine friends off the field.
Still, not returning to the starting role after recovering from the concussion was difficult for Lunt. But he understood why Gundy stuck with Chelf down the stretch.
“Just being a competitor, of course you want to play,” Lunt said. “But there was no reason I should have been, because Clint was getting ‘Ws' and putting points on the board.”
Gundy has often praised Lunt's attitude during such a strange freshman season. The coach also said Wednesday that Lunt performed well during his second winter workout program and has bulked up to 215 pounds.
Now comes spring practice, marking a fresh chance for Lunt to impress Gundy and new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich in the same setting in which he shined last year.
Gundy reiterated Wednesday that Chelf is currently the Cowboys' No. 1 quarterback, with Lunt and Walsh in position to challenge. But Lunt expects the competition to be even fiercer than last year, since all three won a Big 12 game and threw for more than 1,000 yards in 2012.
Lunt assumes he will redshirt the 2013 season if he does not start, an option he would accept. But he, of course, wants his old job back.
More than anything, though, Lunt wants to continue to grow in what he hopes is a much smoother sophomore year.
“I just want to compete,” Lunt said. “I just want to, every day, get better and make our team better.”