WVU football: Cowboys mum on health of QB Lunt
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For the second straight week, West Virginia prepares for an opponent that's keeping a lid on that status of the quarterback position.
Oklahoma State's Wes Lunt was hit in the head and knocked out of last week's loss to Kansas State. Coach Mike Gundy won't say who'll start Saturday's home game against the Mountaineers. It could be Lunt, the true freshman who was named the starter in April, or Clint Chelf, a junior who was the third-string quarterback just three weeks ago, for the game (3:30 p.m., ABC) at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Chelf played most of the second half of the 44-30 loss to the Wildcats. He was 16-for-27 for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the end zone and ran four times for 33 yards.
"He played really well and for the most part his decisions were good," Gundy said. "He had the one underthrown ball in the end zone at the end of the game, but for the most part he handled his reads and distributed the ball properly. I'm proud of the way he competed.
"It's not easy when you get your first real action against the No. 2 team in the country on the road and you're behind by 14 points. But he did a really good job. I don't know that we could have asked more than what we got from him that night."
Lunt, who is 80-for-128 for 1,096 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions, has missed two games and parts of two others with separate injuries. He was hurt in a win against Louisiana-Lafayette. Redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh took over and started the next three games, but was hurt in the third and lost for the season. Walsh completed 68 of 103 passes for 971 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in his starts and added 152 yards and two scores rushing.
The Cowboys are still No. 2 in total offense, No. 3 in passing offense and No. 8 in scoring offense.
"We've been very fortunate," Gundy said. "Going into the season, if you said we'd have to start a freshman and he goes out and we've got to play another freshman and then he goes out and we play another guy, a junior who's never played, and we can still throw the ball on the edge and score points and have some success, I would have been pleased with that.
"We've played three guys through eight games, but I've been pretty pleased with the way we've been able to move the ball."
* * *
FOR THE first time in five games, there seems to be no question about WVU running back Shawne Alston's status. Alston played in Saturday's loss to TCU after missing the previous four games and part of a fifth before that with a thigh bruise.
He carried seven times for 16 yards and a touchdown against the Horned Frogs.
Alston was injured in the first quarter against JMU on Sept. 15. He played the rest of the game had 62 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He played a few snaps, almost out of desperation, a week later against Maryland, and then disappeared and wasn't on the team's road trip to Texas.
"It was way worse than everybody thinks it was," Alston said.
He had a deep tissue bruise in the right leg and Alston said his body couldn't absorb all the blood. He had a pair of procedures to drain blood from the leg. Alston then had to deal with calcification that required help from a specialist.
The constant pressure limited his movements and caused pain when he'd try to lift his leg. Alston couldn't walk for a time and couldn't lift weights with his legs. He said he had a hard time even climbing stairs and had to turn sideways and go up with his left leg first to keep pressure off the right leg.
Alston wore a knee brace against TCU because the leg still isn't strong enough to support itself without the brace.
"It was just to restrict the motion a little bit so it doesn't go back on me and another injury happens," he said. "It was just a precautionary thing."
Alston believes he's about 65 or 70 percent of what he was when he started the season with 16 carries, 123 yards and two touchdowns against Marshall, but he believes he can get back to full strength before the end of this season.
"My treatment regimen is crazy right now," he said. "I'm always in there. They're going to put a picture of me in there one day because I'm in there so much."
Alston echoed what his coach, Dana Holgorsen, said and knows he wasn't himself against TCU. Both said it was a starting point on the way back to a purposeful role on the team. He can still run straight ahead and use his 6-foot, 230-pound body to move defenders. The leg limits his ability to cut, but that isn't a problem.
"I didn't cut anyway," he said.
* * *
A LITTLE cloudier is the situation with WVU receiver Stedman Bailey. Still the NCAA leader with 15 touchdown receptions, Bailey didn't start against TCU and caught two passes for 30 yards, though one was a 25-yard touchdown in the second overtime.
Ivan McCartney started in his place.
"He played better all week," Holgorsen said.
Bailey hurt an ankle in the Oct. 13 loss at Texas Tech, when he caught six passes for 56 yards, and then caught four passes for 34 yards against Kansas State.
"At times, he looks bothered by it and at times he doesn't," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "In my opinion, it's been a long time now. Whoever's playing best at the end of the week will play."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 30-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.