Tommy Stevens Won’t Play In Citrus Bowl After Surgery
Update 4:13 p.m.: Head coach James Franklin discussed Stevens’ absence Wednesday in his first media availability after the team landed in Orlando.
Tommy had an injury about the midpoint of the season that you guys weren’t aware of. We had a lot of discussions about when’s the right time to have the surgery, but Tommy’s family and the staff decided the best time to have the surgery would be once his academics finished up and he got through the season. He was able to do that and now this will allow him, hopefully, to be full-go for spring ball.James Franklin
Original story: Penn State’s starting “Lion” won’t play in the Citrus Bowl next week after surgery, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Dave Molinary. However, he “should be ready for spring ball” and appears to remain the top contender to become starting quarterback in 2019.
Stevens was not available for the first few games of the 2018 season after an undisclosed injury that left him in a boot for the team’s official photo day in August.
Stevens debuted at the “Lion” position against Ohio State with three rushes. He appeared in seven games throughout the season, including four at quarterback with a passing touchdown against Indiana and two rushing touchdowns against Iowa and at Michigan. Stevens and starting quarterback Trace McSorley were swapped in and out at Michigan as McSorley continued to deal with an injury scare in the midst of a blowout at the hands of the Wolverines.
With Stevens down for the count in Orlando, the Nittany Lions will rely on redshirt freshman third-stringer Sean Clifford for any snaps McSorley doesn’t take.
Clifford appeared in three games this season and miraculously hasn’t thrown an incompletion. His first career completion against Pitt in September went to Brandon Polk for a 34-yard touchdown, followed by a school-record 95-yard touchdown pass to Daniel George against Kent State and a 44-yard completion to Mac Hippenhammer against Illinois.
The Nittany Lions kick off the Citrus Bowl against the Kentucky Wildcats at 1 p.m. January 1.
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Kotelnicki would be James Franklin’s sixth offensive coordinator at Penn State.
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The Blue-White Game returned to its traditional format in 2023.