Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No. 3 QB Humble after His Hot Start

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No. 3 QB Humble after His Hot Start

Article excerpt

Sean Clifford hasn't had many opportunities to make an impact during his redshirt freshman season at Penn State.

Then again, he hasn't needed many.

Clifford completed a 34-yard touchdown pass on his first collegiate throw in a 51-6 victory Sept. 8 at Pitt, then set a school record with a 95-yard scoring pass against Kent State a week later.

Those achievements aside, there is still much that Clifford, who is lodged behind senior Trace McSorley and redshirt junior Tommy Stevens on the Nittany Lions' depth chart, hasn't done during his college career.

Like throw an interception.

Or, for that matter, an incompletion.

It didn't happen in either of his appearances this season; Clifford is 4 for 4, with half of those passes resulting in touchdowns.

"Pretty good start for him," coach James Franklin said.

Impossible as it might be, if he keeps this up, Clifford will have a quarterback rating that approximates the seating capacity at Beaver Stadium by the time he graduates.

"When he gets into the game, he takes advantage of it every time," running back Mark Allen said.

While there's much to like about what Clifford has done in his limited playing time so far, at least one guy doesn't seem particularly impressed by any of it.

That would be Clifford, who Wednesday credited just about everyone except himself with contributing to what he accomplished during the past two games.

"When my number was called, I just relied on my guys," he said. "And everyone did their job."

Whether Clifford will get onto the field when Penn State visits Illinois at 9 p.m. Friday is unclear and will hinge on several factors.

How the game is playing out is the most important - No. 1 quarterback McSorley will remain in if Penn State is losing, or not comfortably ahead - and Stevens' status will play a role, as well.

Stevens sat out the first three games because of an apparent foot injury, but Franklin said he should be available against the Illini. …

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