1. He has won the job, at least for the moment
Clint Chelf started the season as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback, having beaten out sophomore J.W. Walsh in August camp. It took just six pass attempts in the season-opener against Mississippi State for coach Mike Gundy to change his mind though, and Chelf played only sparingly in the Cowboys' first five games of the year.
When Walsh struggled early against TCU, Gundy again turned to his senior backup. Chelf was far from spectacular -- he completed just 10/25 for 178 yards and an interception -- but Oklahoma State found enough offense to hold off the Horned Frogs, and Chelf has been the starter in the team's three games since that day.
Chelf has been uninspiring in those three games, completing just 48.4 percent of his pass attempts and throwing six touchdowns against three interceptions. Oklahoma State has had no trouble scoring points with Chelf at the helm though, averaging more than 50 points per game. Gundy has shown no sign of returning to Walsh, and Chelf looks increasingly confident in his position.
2. He can run
In Chelf's first game as a starter, a 58-27 win over Iowa State, he racked up more rushing yards (85) than passing yards (78). He was equally effective on the ground against Texas Tech, rushing six times for 88 yards and a pair of scores. That included a 67-yard touchdown run on a designed quarterback draw in which Chelf juked a linebacker and outran the Red Raider secondary.
Chelf's dual-threat status is hardly new -- he ran for 63 yards in an overtime loss to Oklahoma last season -- and Mike Gundy is still going to expect him to throw far more often than he runs. But that running ability gives Oklahoma State's offense a backup plan in the event that Chelf struggles in the passing game and should force the Texas defense -- a defense that has struggled mightily against running quarterbacks this season -- to keep an eye in the Cowboys' backfield throughout Saturday's game.
3. A hostile crowd doesn't bother him
Chelf has made ten starts in his Oklahoma State career, with four of those ten starts in true road games (Chelf has also started two neutral-site games and four games in Stillwater). In his first road start, against rival Oklahoma last season, Chelf posted 316 yards of total offense. He threw for a career-high 333 yards at Baylor. He accounted for 299 yards of offense and four touchdowns against Texas Tech two weeks ago. His only truly questionable road performance came against Iowa State in late October, in which he went just 10/26 for 78 yards. The Cowboys did not need much from Chelf to dispatch with the Cyclones though, and Chelf's 85 rushing yards certainly did not hurt the cause.
Chelf has shown a tendency to throw more interceptions on the road, but his completion percentage (54.8% home; 52.0% away) and average total offense (259 ypg home; 254 ypg away) are nearly identical against arguably better road competition. And with games at Oklahoma and Kansas State under his belt, you can be sure Chelf will not be intimidated by the environment in Austin.