MORGANTOWN-West Virginia's woes on defense has been well documented during the Mountaineers' recent three-game losing streak.
Texas Tech's Seth Doege had a career day in leading the Red Raiders to a 49-14 victory as did Kansas State's Collin Klein when he established a new career mark in the Wildcats' 55-14 win in Morgantown.
But, as if those two performances weren't bad enough, TCU freshman signal caller Trevone Boykin came into Milan Puskar Stadium last Saturday night and, while the numbers were not career-setting, passed for 254 yards and two scores and rushed for 35 more yards to lead the Horned Frogs to a 39-38 double-overtime win over the then-No. 23 ranked Mountaineers.
Now, WVU's much maligned prevent unit is faced with another daunting task-slowing down an Oklahoma State offense that has had three different quarterbacks under center.
"It's just about getting reps," said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. "We were lucky enough that when we came out of the spring I thought we had three good quarterbacks. I said that then and I really meant it.
"There wasn't a large margin between them-each sample size was so small. Clint Chelf had never played in a game that was on the line and the other two sure as heck hadn't. Whether Clint had thrown four touchdowns and led us to victory or thrown four interceptions, the sample size is still the same. You take what you have and make the best decision you can make."
Chelf entered the Cowboys' game at No. 2 Kansas State with 9:47 remaining in the third quarter. The junior led OSU on drives of 54, 80, 54 and 72 yards. His only three-and-out came when the Cowboys started on their own 1yard line.
More importantly, Chelf led OSU to its final 13 points in a 44-30 loss to the unbeaten Wildcats. His only interception came after he had driven the visitors to the KSU 8-yard line.
Freshmen Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh have both started games this season and missed games due to injury. Chelf is the third Cowboy quarterback to play meaningful snaps in 2012. In three appearances Chelf has completed 20-of-35 attempts for 284 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.
With the availability of Lunt (80-128-7, 1,096 yards, 6 TDs) and Walsh (102-154-3, 1,467, 10 TDs) in doubt for OSU's fourth-ever meeting with the Mountaineers, the pressure goes on Chelf and standout running back Joseph Randle to keep the Cowboys' offense on the field and WVU's Geno Smith and company on the sidelines.
"When they had J.W. (Walsh) in there for four or five games that he played, he did a tremendous job," said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. "They had a little bit more of a quarterback run game because that fits this style more than (Wes) Lunt or (Clint) Chelf.
"It goes back to the scheming aspect of things-you're not going to out-scheme many people. The next week when we play OU, we're going to be looking at an offense that is very similar to ours as well. That just exists in this league."
The quest is, however, can WVU defense, which showed signs of improved play in the loss to TCU, make enough stops to help the Mountaineers snap out of its mid-season slump?
"We just have to keep getting better in practice," said freshman linebacker Isaiah Bruce, who leads WVU in tackles. "We need to keep going over the little things in practice and make sure we are doing our jobs."
Accomplish those feats and the question of who will be at quarterback for OSU won't matter.