AMES, Iowa — Clint Chelf certainly didn’t solve Oklahoma State’s issues in the passing game.
It didn’t matter though, because Desmond Roland and the Cowboys ran all over Iowa State.
Desmond Roland ran for a career-high 219 yards and four touchdowns and 19th-ranked Oklahoma State routed Iowa State 58-27 on Saturday for its third straight win.
Quarterback Clint Chelf had 163 total yards in his second start of the season for the Cowboys (6-1, 3-1 Big 12), who ran for a season-high 342 yards.
Though coach Mike Gundy wasn’t thrilled with Oklahoma State’s paltry 78 yards passing, he indicated that he’ll stick with Chelf when the Cowboys face Texas Tech next week.
“I think Clint did a good job of managing the game. I think he did a good job of getting us in the correct run plays and was an effective runner,” Gundy said.
Oklahoma State scored 14 points in a 2-½ minute stretch late in the third quarter to extend its lead to 45-20. Roland ran 58 yards for his third touchdown of the day, and Tyler Johnson took a fumble 54 yards for a TD with 4:17 left in the third.
Sam Richardson had 95 yards passing and a touchdown for Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) before leaving the game late in the first half after an apparent blow to the head and neck.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads was optimistic that Richardson will be healthy enough to play next week.
“When you play an opponent like that, you can’t give them things. You can’t make mistakes, you can’t turn the ball over, you can’t have foolish penalties. We had way too much of that in 60 minutes to give ourselves an opportunity to win,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said.
After a blistering start, Oklahoma State let Iowa State sneak back into the game by halftime.
The Cowboys blew past the hapless Cyclones with a dominant third quarter.
Roland broke at least four tackles during his 58-yard TD run, the longest of his career, to put Oklahoma State up 38-20.
Cowboys linebacker Joe Mitchell then stripped Ernst Brun, and Johnson deftly maneuvered through a crowd of Cyclones and found the pylon for the defense’s second TD of the game.
Chelf, who got the starting nod over J.W. Walsh, was just 10 of 26 passing for 78 yards. But he added 85 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Cowboys — who had 179 yards rushing in just the third quarter.
“The offensive line just ran them down the field,” Roland said. “Coach Gundy said ‘Let’s stop playing with them. Get them out of the way and make some big holes,’ and they listened.”
Iowa State was coming off the most lopsided loss in school history, having been throttled by No. 6 Baylor 71-7 last weekend in Waco.
The Cowboys made the Cyclones look just as bad in the first 10 minutes.
Roland opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run, and Justin Gilbert made it 14-0 Cowboys by taking a Richardson interception back 31 yards.
Oklahoma State pushed its lead to 21-0 on an 8-yard TD pass from Chelf to Charlie Moore midway through the first quarter.
To that point, Iowa State had given up an astounding 92 points in the 69:15 dating back to the start of the Baylor game.
But instead of burying the Cyclones, the Cowboys allowed them to climb right back into it.
Quenton Bundrage caught TD passes of 22 and 20 yards — the first from Richardson, the second from backup Grant Rohach — to help Iowa State pull within 28-20 by halftime.
But there would be no repeat of 2011, when the host Cyclones stunned the Cowboys in double overtime and ruined their shot at a national title.
“I would argue that momentum was almost on our side as we went into the locker room,” Rhoads said. “With the ability to come out and get a stop, which we did in a way, and go get a score, you’ve got a chance in the last 30 minutes to knock off a top (20) team. We didn’t do enough execution-wise in the second half to make that happen. Was that frustrating? Sure.”
Rohach finished with 97 yards passing for Iowa State, which converted just 4 of 20 third downs and punted 11 times.
Rohach will likely return to the bench when the Cyclones play at Kansas State on Saturday. But Chelf will probably get another shot, even though his legs were ahead of his arm on Saturday.
“We have to become a better throwing team. We were very average throwing the football,” Gundy said. “But rushing the football was good.”