Connect with us


Saying goodbye to Sean Clifford is bittersweet for Penn State fans

After six years with Penn State football, Sean Clifford ended his college career in the Nittany Lions’ 35-21 Rose Bowl win over No. 8 Utah.



Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) celebrates on the podium after the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After six years with Penn State football, Sean Clifford took his final snap as the Nittany Lions’ quarterback in the Rose Bowl game. After six years in State College — four years as the Lions’ starter — saying goodbye to Clifford is bittersweet for Penn State fans.

The highs were high; the lows were low

Penn State football saw some massive seasons with Sean Clifford; in 2019 and 2022 the Nittany Lions finished with 11 wins, a New Year’s Six trophy, and a top-10 ranking. That being said, for Clifford’s other two years as a starter, Penn State finished no better than 7-6 overall and unranked.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Nittany Lions had a losing season in 2020. Clifford struggled with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in Penn State’s 4-5 finish — which included the worst start in Penn State history (0-5). Additionally, Clifford was periodically replaced by then-backup quarterback (and current NFL prospect), Will Levis.

With Sean Clifford under center, Penn State football was either great or forgettable; there wasn’t much in-between in State College since 2019. The highs were high, and the lows were low.

Sean Clifford was only as good as his team

The occasionally unfortunate reality about Sean Clifford was that he was only as good as his team was. He didn’t make Penn State any worse; however, he rarely (if ever) made the Nittany Lions any better. When Penn State football hit some road bumps in 2020 and 2021, Sean Clifford was not good enough to overcome the Nittany Lions’ issues.

That being said, when Penn State saw better days in 2019 and 2022, Clifford did not hold PSU football back in the slightest. Sean Clifford was easy to blame, hard to credit, but above all else, he was consistently as good as the team around him.

Clifford will end his Penn State career with a 3-1 record against Michigan State, a 2-2 record against Michigan, an 0-4 record against Ohio State, and a 2-1 record in bowl games.

Clifford’s sendoff was perfect

As Sean Clifford’s six years came to a close, Penn State fans began to clamor about the “glory days” to come: the Drew Allar era. Still, the Nittany Lions’ captain had one final game in him: the Rose Bowl game.

During Penn State’s 14-point win over No. 8 Utah in the Rose Bowl — Sean Clifford’s final game in the Blue and White — Clifford completed 16 of his 21 pass attempts (76.2 percent) for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Clifford’s QBR was 92.4 and his passer rating was 219.2. Additionally, he set the record for longest touchdown pass in Rose Bowl history (88 yards).

Clifford will finish his college career as Penn State’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, completion percentage, and wins. Some consider him a Penn State legend; some consider him a failure in State College. Still, Clifford will live in Penn State history forever. Saying goodbye to Clifford is bittersweet for Penn State fans; throughout the highs and lows, Clifford was always there.

Now, it’s time to move on to a new era of Penn State football; ideally one with less heartbreak and more consistency.


Spinstralia Casino: online pokies real money, real fun! Get in on the action today!