Clint Chelf

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

DALLAS ‒ The Big 12 unofficially kicked off the 2014 football season at the conference’s media days at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Monday.

The event began with Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s annual State of the Conference address. Bowlsby delivered an eye-opening speech in which he warned that collegiate sports as we know it may be vastly different in the near future.

“Change is coming,” Bowlsby said. “There is change afoot, and some of it is going to be unhappy change because I think it will ultimately reduce the number of opportunities for young people to go to college and participate in sports.”

Bowlsby was followed by five of the 10 Big 12 Coaches: Art Briles, Charlie Weis, Mike Gundy, Gary Patterson and Kliff Kingsbury

Baylor: Briles preparing Bears to defend Big 12 title

The Baylor Bears won their first Big 12 title last season. Despite being picked to finished second by the Big 12 media behind Oklahoma, head coach Art Briles is teaching the team how to defend its title and the adversity that comes with the territory.

“We see ourselves as the guy fighting hard, scratching hard to try to get some recognition and some respect,” Briles said. “We have to learn how to prepare as the hunted as opposed to the hunter.  We've always been the hunter.  And I don't want to lose that edge and that attitude.”

Kansas: Weis, Jayhawks fighting for relevancy

The Kansas Jayhawks are six years removed from their victory in the 2008 Orange Bowl, and it’s been a rough road ever since.

Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis, in his third year as head coach, knows the team needs to improve.

“We haven't done a thing in the two years I've been here,” Weis said. “But our team very clearly knows what our expectations are. There's no hiding it.”

Oklahoma State: Gundy looking for quarterback to replace Chelf

The Oklahoma State Cowboys were a game away from winning the Big 12 Championship last season because of great quarterback play from Clint Chelf. Chelf threw for 2,173 yards, 17 passing touchdowns and 7 rushing touchdowns.

But now that Chelf is gone, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is trying to find his replacement and leading the way is junior J.W. Walsh.

“Walsh took the majority of the reps in the spring with the 1s and has had a good summer,” Gundy said. “Based on the style of play or the plan of attack that we want to use, we have a little bit of flexibility with the quarterback that we put in the game at that time.”

TCU: Patterson, Horned Frogs looking to overcome bowl-less season

For the first time in 16 seasons, TCU and head coach Gary Patterson missed out on playing in a bowl game. Despite the frustrating 2013 season, Patterson and the Horned Frogs are preparing themselves for a comeback.

“We got back to a Bowl game,” Patterson said. “So for me, it's all been about understanding it wasn't broke; you've got to make sure you go out — gotta be physical, gotta trust each other, gotta play together as a group, and also, you've got to find a way to make those plays at the end of the ballgame.”

Texas Tech: Kingsbury settling into coaching Red Raiders in second season

Under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Texas Tech Red Raiders rushed out to a 7-0 start in 2013. The Raiders followed that winning streak with a five-game losing streak. But a win in the Holiday Bowl revitalized Kingsbury and the team heading into the 2014 season.

“Yeah, [winning the Holiday Bowl] was huge,” Kinsbury said. “It proved to our team and our players that if you keep working hard and you keep focusing on your job and your responsibility, good things will happen.”

STOCK UP:

 

S Mykkele Thompson (Jr.)

Although the Texas secondary struggled as a unit against Oklahoma State, allowing Clint Chelf to complete 16 of 22 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, Thompson had his best game of the season for the Longhorns. In addition to hauling in his first interception of the season against the Cowboys — Chelf’s only turnover of the game — he recorded six solo tackles, his most in a single game this year.

 

DT Malcolm Brown (So.)

With fellow defensive tackle Chris Whaley done for the season with a knee injury, Brown has added pressure on him in the middle of Texas’ defense. The sophomore responded well against Oklahoma State, recording seven tackles, his most in six weeks. With the Longhorns defense likely to be spread out against Texas Tech’s high-flying aerial attack, Brown needs to have a big game in the middle to stymie the Red Raiders’ running game and keep them one-dimensional.

 

Longhorns Offensive Line

The big boys up front for Texas have been stellar, allowing an average of only one sack per game in conference play. They continued this solid play against the Cowboys, allowing a single sack at the end of the game to freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Longhorns quarterbacks have been sacked just twice in their last 142 pass attempts.

 

STOCK DOWN:

 

QB Case McCoy (Sr.)

It’s hard to argue against McCoy being on this list. The senior signal-caller had his worst outing of the season in the Longhorns’ biggest game of the season, throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns. His first interception was the costliest, as it was returned for a touchdown by Justin Gilbert to give Oklahoma State a commanding 28-10 halftime lead. Despite good protection from his offensive line, McCoy has been picked off in five straight games.

 

RB Malcolm Brown (Jr.)

With Johnathan Gray done for the year, Texas needed Brown to explode against Oklahoma State. Instead he came up short, finishing with 73 rushing yards despite carrying the ball 25 times — a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. With two huge games approaching against Texas Tech, the Longhorns need Brown to step up and help them sustain the power running game that has emerged over the course of their Big 12 schedule.

 

LB Dalton Santos (So.)

Santos had come up big at middle linebacker since senior Jordan Hicks went down with a torn Achilles against Kansas State, anchoring the defense with his aggressive play. But against Oklahoma State he was caught out of position too many times, allowing Chelf to gash the Longhorns through the air and on the ground. Chelf was able to coast into the end zone for the game’s first score when he ran a quarterback draw up the middle for an easy touchdown — right where Santos should have been.

 

 

Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf brought Texas fans flashbacks to its early season loss to BYU when Taysom Hill ran all over the Longhorns. Texas' defense has improved significantly since then but continues to struggle to stop the quaterback option.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

If there was one thing Texas wanted to forget about this season, it was its defensive woes against BYU and its quarterback Taysom Hill.

The Longhorns gave up 550 rushing yards against the Cougars with 259 of those coming from the sophomore quarterback. On Saturday afternoon, Texas had flashbacks to that woeful game, as Oklahoma State’s quarterback, Clint Chelf, took off against the Longhorns in another contest Texas would like to forget about.

“It was unacceptable, unacceptable,” defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

Chelf tallied 95 yards on the ground against the shattered Texas defense. The senior grabbed two rushing touchdowns while adding 197 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air. Chelf accounted for all but three of the Cowboys’ points.

“Clint managed the game really well and continues to be a nifty runner for us,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “We didn’t need to use him as a runner as much in the second half, so we didn’t. He plays pretty good from start to finish. I’m proud of him — the way he’s developing and leading our team on offense — and he stepped up to lead our offense at this time.”

Texas allowed multiple gaps to open up in the middle of the field, which allowed running room for Chelf. Robinson explained that his linebackers are responsible for making the call to close up gaps, but those calls were never made.

“We did a very poor job inside with gap control on the quarterback draw a couple times early that just killed us, and then they scored a run for about 20 yards with the same thing,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We did a better job with that after, but then they hurt us more on the option. It seemed like every time we get something going, we killed ourselves.”

The Longhorns were unable to apply pressure on Chelf, and with the open gaps, let him go untouched into the Texas backfield.

“They were blocking with most of their guys,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said. “They’d bring the fullback in the back and block with him or they’d get it out pretty quick … When they got up, they didn’t throw the ball much.”

Texas played lights-out defense for the past few weeks while they recorded six consecutive wins. But on Saturday, the team regressed back to last season’s defense, which was statistically the worst in school history.

“It’s something you just can’t explain,” senior cornerback Carrington Byndom said. “Sometimes, you don’t know why things go the way that they do. As a defense, we have to make sure that we come out and start fast and we just didn’t. We just need to do better.”

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns’ 38-13 loss to No. 12 Oklahoma State ended their six-game winning streak and complicated their run toward a Big 12 title. Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s game:

Struggle against the QB run

After allowing 259 rushing yards to BYU’s Taysom Hill in Week 2 and 83 rushing yards to Iowa State’s Sam Richardson in Week 6, the Longhorns did not surrender more than 34 rushing yards to an opposing quarterback in their next four games.

The Texas defense reverted back to its early season form against Oklahoma State, though, surrendering 95 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to senior quarterback Clint Chelf.

The quarterback racked up five carries of 10 yards or more, three of which came in a first quarter scoring drive that ended with Chelf running it in from 18 yards out. His 95 rushing yards and 9.5 yards per carry led all players and left a sour taste in defensive coordinator Greg Robinson’s mouth.

“It was unacceptable, unacceptable,” Robinson said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

Disappearance of the pass rush

A major factor in Texas’ struggles against Chelf was its inability to generate pressure in the backfield.

After racking up 24 sacks in their first six conference games, the Longhorns failed to record a sack for the first time since the start of Big 12 play.

Senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said the Cowboys used extra blockers throughout the game to account for Texas’ pass rush.

“They were blocking with most of their guys,” Jeffcoat said. “They’d bring the fullback in the back and block with him or they’d get it out pretty quick. Seven-man protection. They were getting it out fast.”

Running backs underwhelm without Gray

Texas remained devoted to the run in its first game without sophomore running back Johnathan Gray, but it failed to continue its recent efficiency on the ground.

The Longhorns averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, and their 151 yards on the ground were their lowest total since the game against Iowa State. Junior running back Malcolm Brown led Texas with 73 yards on the ground and scored the Longhorns’ lone touchdown, but he averaged just 2.9 yards per attempt.

One bright spot on the ground was junior running back Joe Bergeron, who racked up 49 yards on a season-high 10 carries. Bergeron accounted for Texas’ longest run of the game with his 21-yard effort in the second quarter. 

Return of Mike Davis

After hauling in just seven passes for 190 yards in his last four games, senior wide receiver Mike Davis bounced back Saturday with his best performance since Week 2.

Davis led Texas with nine receptions for 112 yards, and his 41-yard grab was Texas’ longest offensive play of the game. He was the only player on the Longhorns to account for more than 50 yards through the air.

Following Saturday’s big performance, Davis now leads the Longhorns with 589 receiving yards and is second on the team with 42 receptions.

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

Senior quarterback Clint Chelf turned in an impressive first half performance in a matchup of Big 12 contenders, giving No. 12 Oklahoma State a 28-10 lead over No. 24 Texas at halftime.

Chelf completed 9 of 13 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 75 yards and two touchdowns to account for the Cowboys’ first 21 points of the half. Oklahoma State added another touchdown right before halftime on a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Justin Gilbert.

The Longhorns scored their lone touchdown of the half on a 7-yard run by junior running back Malcolm Brown in the second quarter. Brown led Texas with 55 rushing yards on 16 carries in the half.

Texas (6-0) entered the game as one of two undefeated teams in the Big 12, along with No. 5 Baylor (5-0). Oklahoma State (5-1) currently sits third in the conference.

The Longhorns will receive the kickoff to begin the second half. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

After redshirting, Clint Chelf stood on the sideline with a clipboard in his hands for two years learning from one of the greatest quarterbacks in school history — Brandon Weeden.

He saw Weeden lead the Cowboys to national prominence. Many felt they deserved a shot at the 2011 BCS championship game. So when Weeden got drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Chelf felt like it was his turn to lead the team he grew up watching from nearby Enid.

But head coach Mike Gundy brought in the country’s No. 4 and 7 quarterback recruits, according to rivals.com, and declared an open competition for the starting quarterback job.

“Go win the job,” Weeden texted Chelf, endorsing his back-up and best friend.

But he didn’t.

True freshman Wes Lunt won the job. The other freshman and highest-rated recruit of the three, J.W Walsh, was named the back-up.

“Clint probably knew the offense better than anybody in the room,” Weeden told The Sporting News this February. “His heart probably broke.”

In the third game, Lunt went down with a leg injury. He was replaced by Walsh.

Then Walsh went down with an injury. He was replaced by a banged-up Lunt.

“My morale was obviously hurt,” Chelf said. “I wanted to play for Oklahoma State, but it didn’t seem like it was ever going to happen for me.”

Chelf thought about transferring for his fifth year. He was tired of watching. Luckily for Gundy, though, Chelf stuck with it, because when Lunt went down with a head injury against TCU and Walsh wasn’t healthy, Chelf was ready.

In the final six games, Chelf threw for 14 touchdowns, including a three-touchdown performance against Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Walsh and Lunt were healthy for final two, but Gundy stuck with Chelf. He went from third-string to MVP of the bowl win.

“I’m very happy he decided to stay with us,” Mike Gundy said after that game. “It’s not been easy for him this season.”

So finally, for the first time in his five years in Stillwater, it looked as though he wouldn’t have to worry about starting on the sideline. He clearly outplayed Walsh in the prior year. Lunt opted to transfer to his hometown team, Illinois.

“The way I look at it? It’s my job,” Chelf said after the bowl game. “It’s my spot right now.”

And when this season started against Mississippi State, Chelf trotted out there as the starter.

But, as planned, Gundy made the switch and put Walsh in at quarterback. Chelf didn’t play again in the season-opening win over the Bulldogs. 

Fast forward five weeks, and after Walsh threw two interceptions in three drives against TCU, Chelf once again worked his back to under center. And just like last year when he finally got a chance, he never looked back.

Despite the coaches still not backing him fully as the best quarterback on the team, he’s started every game since, winning all three. The Cowboys have scored more than 42 points in all of them. He was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week.  

And the Longhorns know that, just because he was at one point a third-string quarterback, it doesn’t mean they can take him lightly.

“The Chelf kid, he’s a talented quarterback,” senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat said.

Quarterbacks

After throwing an early interception against West Virginia, Case McCoy threw for three touchdown passes, including the game-winner in overtime. McCoy also had a crucial fourth-down completion to junior Jaxon Shipley on the last drive of regulation. After throwing five interceptions in a three-game stretch, McCoy has recollected himself. Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf has started the last three games since leading the Cowboys to a 24-10 win over TCU. Chelf helped hand Texas Tech their second loss of the season by scoring four touchdowns, including a 67-yard touchdown run that put the game away in the third quarter. He is the type of dual-threat quarterback that can give Texas trouble.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

 

Running Backs

The Longhorns were dealt a huge blow when Johnathan Gray left the game with a season-ending Achilles injury against West Virginia. Losing the Big 12’s third-leading rusher will increase the role of Malcolm Brown, who has 379 yards and seven touchdowns in the last three games. Joe Bergeron will have an opportunity to prove himself. Desmond Roland exploded for  219 yards and four touchdowns against Iowa State three weeks ago. Roland has since scored five touchdowns, including a three-score performance against Texas Tech. Jeremy Smith has had a limited role since early October with just 16 carries in the last three games. 

Advantage: Texas

 

Wide Receivers

If Oklahoma State’s Josh Stewart, who is questionable with an ankle injury, doesn’t play, Tracy Moore becomes the Cowboys’ top wideout. Moore has 110 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games, including a 77-yard, two-touchdown performance in the 42-6 win over Kansas last week. Jhajuan Seales and Charlie Moore have a combined for 612 yards and four touchdowns. Jaxon Shipley caught his first touchdown pass of the season and made a game-saving fourth-down catch against West Virginia. Senior Mike Davis caught made a key 49-yard touchdown catch in that game as well. With five receivers each with at least 300 yards this year, McCoy has plenty of weapons.

Advantage: Texas

 

Offensive Line

Oklahoma State has allowed only one sack in the last three games but didn’t see a pass rush like it’ll see against Texas during that stretch. The Cowboys have six more rushing touchdowns than Texas despite running the ball nearly 50 fewer times, with more than 90 percent of those scores coming in the red zone. The Longhorns have allowed just two sacks in their last five games but could have trouble against a Cowboys defense that has seven sacks in the last four games. Texas has rushed for more than 200 yards per game over the last five weeks but will sorely miss Gray against the country’s No. 27 rush defense.

Advantage: Texas

 

Defensive Line:

Cowboys sack leader and former minor leaguer Tyler Johnson doesn’t have a sack in the last three games. He stole 94 bases in the Angels’ farm system and leads a defense that has the 10th-most tackles for loss in the country. Texas will be without its leading scorer, defensive tackle Chris Whaley, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Junior Desmond Jackson, who had two sacks against West Virginia, takes his place. The Longhorns’ defensive line notched six sacks last week and forced five forced fumbles, recovering two. Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed are both second in the Big 12 with seven sacks apiece on the season.

Advantage: Texas

 

Linebackers

The Longhorns gave up 40 points to West Virginia, as many as it gave up in the previous three games combined. They struggled in the red zone but Steve Edmond sealed the win with an interception in the end zone in overtime. Oklahoma State has the nation’s No. 27 run defense, along with the No. 11 red zone defense in the country. Kansas State, the only one of the Big 12’s four best rush offenses, ran for 133 yards on the Cowboys in a 33-29 Oklahoma State win. Shaun Lewis leads the Cowboys linebackers with 33 solo tackles on the season and has three interceptions on the year. 

Advantage: Oklahoma State

 

Defensive Backs

Mario Alford’s 72-yard touchdown catch last week was the first touchdown pass Texas gave up in four weeks. Paul Millard threw for 259 yards, snapping a four-game streak of holding quarterbacks to less than 200 yards passing. Texas had not yet faced any of the Top 4 passing teams in the Big 12. Oklahoma State’s 16 interceptions are the seventh-most in the nation, four of them coming from senior Justin Gilbert. The Cowboys have just the nation’s No. 84 pass defense but can take advantage of an interception-prone McCoy. 

Advantage: Oklahoma State

 

Special Teams

Texas had a punt blocked for a safety on its first possession against West Virginia and are among the 10 worst kick return coverage teams in the country, allowing a 43-yard return against the Mountaineers. Gilbert, who returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown last week against Kansas, did the same the last time Oklahoma State visited Austin. The Cowboys’ kick coverage team allows less than 20 yards per return and they blocked a Texas Tech punt that allowed Oklahoma State to take a commanding 21-0 lead.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

Kansas State, led by Collin Klein, defeated TCU 23-10 on Saturday, helping to vault the Wildcats to the No. 1 ranking in the BCS for the first time in school history.  

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

For the first time in school history, Kansas State is the top-ranked team in the BCS standings. The Wildcats made the jump to the top after No. 15 Texas A&M upset No. 1 Alabama on Saturday. Oregon and Notre Dame now sit in second and third place, respectively.

Kansas State defeated TCU on Saturday to improve to 10-0 on the year, and wins in its last two games would likely earn the Wildcats their first ever national title game berth. Heisman hopeful quarterback Collin Klein put injury concerns to rest against the Horned Frogs, playing the entire game and scoring two more touchdowns on the ground to put his season total at 19.

This bodes well for the rest of the season for the Wildcats, who have a trip to Baylor and a home affair against Texas remaining on their schedule.

West Virginia WRs dynamic

West Virginia (5-4) has been a major disappointment after starting the year with five wins, but this should not overshadow the contributions of the Mountaineers’ wide receivers. The dynamic duo of Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin has put up eye-popping statistics all season long, and these two were a major reason why quarterback Geno Smith was the Heisman favorite through five games.

Bailey hauled in 75 passes for 1,055 yards and 16 scores through nine games, while Austin recorded 96 catches for 968 yards and 11 touchdowns. Both players rank in the Top 15 in all three major receiving categories, with Bailey leading the nation in touchdown catches.

Chelf steps in

Oklahoma State has been ravaged with injuries at the quarterback position, but this hasn’t stop the Cowboys from having one of the nation’s top offenses. In his first career start Saturday, junior Clint Chelf stepped in and sustained the potent OSU passing game by throwing for 292 yards and four touchdowns against West Virginia. Chelf filled in for starter Wes Lunt, who was out with concussion-like symptoms suffered last week against Kansas State. Sophomore J.W. Walsh also made three starts this season before suffering what is believed to be a season-ending knee injury Oct. 20.

Big 12 goes nine strong

The Big 12 has been one of the strongest conferences in college football from top to bottom in 2012 and as many as nine teams from the conference who could be bowl-eligible at the conclusion of the season. Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and TCU have already clinched eligibility, and only Kansas has been eliminated. West Virginia and Iowa State are each one win away from qualifying for a bowl, while Baylor needs two wins in its final three games in order to gain eligibility.

Printed on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 as: Wildcats ascend, reach No. 1 in BCS