We could break down every drive, every momentum shift (there were too many to count) and pinpoint exactly why OSU lost, but it doesn’t quite do this game justice. It’s never that simple. The emotions of a Bedlam defeat never are.
It was across the faces of OSU coaches and players. Following a season where the Cowboys won Bedlam, the Big 12 Championship and the Fiesta Bowl, this one hurt just a little bit more.
Said head coach Mike Gundy: “The truth is, the better the program you have and the more highly regarded you are, the harder it is to lose.”
And like every rivalry game played Saturday, hometown ties elevate that heartbreak. Imagine starting quarterback Clint Chelf’s reaction as OU players rushed the field following Brennan Clay’s 18-yard touchdown to seal the victory.
Chelf is an Enid native who started the season third on the quarterback depth chart. In three weeks time, he was named the starter for the biggest game of the year. And in usual Bedlam fashion, he led the Cowboys through four ties to put them in a position to win at the end of the game.
It just wasn’t enough.
“Any time you get to start for a program, a team like this, it’s exciting – especially in a game like this,” Chelf said. “But a loss is always going to hurt. So right now, it’s not very fun.”
Gundy didn’t have time to seek out Chelf in the locker room following the loss before addressing the media, but offensive coordinator Todd Monken did.
“Like any player, you’re disappointed any time you lose,” Monken said. “Probably when you feel like at the end of the game you feel like you could have made more plays, just like I do. We could have made better calls and made better plays. That’s just the way it is.”
But Monken praised Chelf’s performance. After all, he finished the night 19-of-37 passing for 253 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 81 yards on 12 carries.
For almost three full quarters of the game, Chelf was the leading passer and rusher for the Cowboys. He was the second-leading receiver, too, after a 36-yard pass from running back Joseph Randle.
“Ultimately, we’re judged on winning and losing, but I’m proud of him,” Monken said. “In his first game as a starter, I thought he was able to communicate what he saw well. I thought he operated the team well.”
Under unusual circumstances, the Cowboys won’t finish the season with this Bedlam loss. They’ll travel to Waco, Texas to face Baylor to close out the season next Saturday. So the pain of this loss? It’s got to be healed quickly.
“We have to get over it tonight and get back to work tomorrow,” Chelf said. “We have another game left, so we have to put it in the rearview mirror and get ready for Baylor.”