By JASON ELMQUIST
DALLAS — From third-string quarterback to Heart of Dallas Bowl Most Valuable Player.
The 2012 season may have been a roller coaster for junior Clint Chelf, but the ride finished on top for the Enid native when he was named MVP Tuesday. Playing just three quarters in the 58-14 rout of Purdue, Chelf went 17 for 22 with 197 yards and three touchdowns to earn the game’s top honor.
“It’s extremely surreal,” Chelf said.
Starting the last five games of the season after watching freshmen quarterbacks Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh start in the first eight games, Chelf went 3-2 as a starter to solidify the quarterback carousel amid injuries to Lunt and Walsh.
“It’s a feel-good story. I don’t think there’s any reason why we should look at it any other way,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Clint was in a difficult situation. We said that when we were in that position, at some point a young man has to reach down deep inside and decide what he wants to do and make a decision. ...
“When he had his opportunity to make plays, he did. So he gets all the credit.”
It was well-known throughout the season that Chelf had considered transferring to find playing time in his final two years of eligibility. But the Enid native mentioned after the bowl victory that he had a close, positive influence when approaching his decision.
“One of the people I look up to in my life is my brother. He had a tough road — went to juco then came to (OSU),” Chelf said. “He was buried on the depth chart, too, I watched him fight through the same thing, get out and make some plays and he ended on a high note last year (with a Fiesta Bowl win).”
With the way he finished the season, OSU coach Mike Gundy didn’t go as far as proclaiming Chelf the starting quarterback for the 2013 season — instead leaving some leeway in how he’ll manage the position once he hires a new offensive coordinator.
“Clint has finished the year strong. We’re going to work our quarterbacks just like we would any other position,” Gundy said. “But when we start out in the spring, and they go running out there, Clint is going to go running out there just like he did today.”