November 10, 2012

Redemption: Chelf and Gilbert step up

The story of the game can be summed up by the tenth play in the game.

After forcing West Virginia's offense to go three and out on their first possession, Oklahoma State (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) found themselves 46 yards away from opening the game with a score. Quarterback Clint Chelf handed off and waited, as slot receiver Josh Stewart was then given the ball on a reverse.

As Stewart sprinted toward the sideline, Chelf made a block that sprung the receiver for a 46-yard touchdown, and the Pokes never looked back from there as they took the game 55-34. The biggest reason for the huge win was the two players involved on that reverse-Chelf and Stewart.

"I'm very proud of Clint," coach Mike Gundy said of his quarterback. "I thought he handled himself well, I thought he made plays, and he was effective throwing and running the ball. Overall, I thought our offensive line was pretty good too. They stuffed us a little bit, but for the most part our guys played pretty good up front."

The game marked Chelf's coming-out party, as the quarterback who was once buried in the third spot on the depth chart finally got his shot to start a game for the Cowboys. The results came in favor of both Chelf and the Cowboys, as he finished the game with an astounding 22 completions on 31 attempts with 292 yards and 4 touchdowns to make his team bowl-eligible.

"There weren't too big of butterflies until today when I came out onto the field, but that's to be expected," Chelf said. "I'm just glad we won."

The second player in the deadly duo, Josh Stewart, finished with 13 receptions for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns, and another 46 yards and a score on the reverse.

Stewart's the prototypical receiver for the spread offense Gundy and the Cowboys like to see, and it showed as the sophomore continually found open space between West Virginia defenders for big gains when Oklahoma State needed it most.

"We've wanted to get the ball to him more," Gundy said. "He's starting to mature and really develop into a good football player. I said this awhile back, Josh likes to play the game, and guys who are tough and durable and want the football in crucial situations have a lot of success. He likes to play football."

Not only was the offensive play inspiring, but Oklahoma State caught a ton of breaks in the special teams department that doomed them a week ago against Kansas State.

After letting the Wildcats rip their coverage units apart, the Cowboys forced West Virginia into 2 fumbles, one on a kickoff and one on a punt. Both of them came at crucial times. Even though Oklahoma State held the lead for the entirety of the game, momentum sat in the middle multiple times during the contest, and the turnovers swung the pendulum back in their favor.

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