It took just two drives for Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy to make a change. And he’s not planning to make another one.
After saying both quarterbacks would play against Mississippi State, Gundy replaced starter Clint Chelf with J.W. Walsh after two series in Saturday’s 21-3 victory over the Bulldogs. On Monday, Gundy said Walsh will be the guy moving forward and he had no plans to play both quarterbacks when Oklahoma State faces Texas-San Antonio this Saturday.
Even though the Cowboys entered the season opener with a plan to play both quarterbacks, Gundy has been consistent in saying he prefers to have one main guy behind center. And Walsh adds an ability to threaten defenses as a running quarterback in read-option situations that Chelf simply doesn't provide.
Walsh’s production backs up Gundy’s decision. The redshirt sophomore ranks third in the Big 12 in total quarterback rating at 83.6, joining Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Texas’ David Ash as the lone conference signal callers with a QBR over 80. His 99.8 rating on third down tied Petty atop the conference. Walsh had 13 carries for 125 yards, more rushing yards than any quarterback in the nation, and completed 18 of 27 passes for 135 yards in the win.
Against the Bulldogs, the Cowboys offense was more explosive with Walsh behind center. The Cowboys averaged 6.5 yards per play when Walsh was in the game and 1.8 yards per play with Chelf behind center, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Walsh isn’t the prototypical quarterback size, but he finds a way to make plays with his feet and find passing lanes to throw through to keep defenses honest.
So while it seems Gundy had a quick hook for Chelf and is making a hasty decision to give the job to Walsh, the numbers make it easier to see why Gundy is ready to hitch the Cowboys’ offensive destiny to the redshirt sophomore quarterback.