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Sean Clifford Wasn’t 100% Healthy For Ohio State Game

Penn State football head coach James Franklin said that starting quarterback Sean Clifford was not 100% healthy entering the Ohio State game.

Although Clifford wasn’t at the peak of his capabilities, Franklin said that his injuries weren’t serious enough to keep him out of the lineup entirely on Saturday afternoon in Columbus. The quarterback’s status for next weekend’s regular season finale against Rutgers is currently unclear.

“Sean has not been healthy for, really, the last couple of weeks. It takes an aspect out of our offense,” he said postgame. “It’s not to [the point of keeping him out]. He’s just not 100%, but not enough to where you’d keep him off the field. Not having Sean was a factor.”

Clifford went down with an apparent injury in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. Will Levis’ subsequent inclusion helped spark Penn State’s 17-0 run to cap off the third quarter, and the Nittany Lions were within four points of the hosts entering the fourth.

The head coach did say Clifford was able to return to action following his injury, but he opted to keep him on the sidelines because he wouldn’t have been able to play to his full ability.

“Sean could’ve come back, but he wouldn’t have come back 100%,” Franklin added. “Will was playing well, so we decided to stay with him. It would’ve been one of those deals where we put Sean back in, but you knew you would’ve been lacking mobility. He’s not 100% from a mobility standpoint anyway right now, and that would’ve been decreased even more.”

Clifford finished the game 10-for-17 with 71 yards and no touchdowns, and he was held to a total of zero yards on six rushing attempts. He’s currently Penn State’s second-leading rusher with 374 yards and five touchdowns on a team-leading 97 attempts, but he’s taken quite a bit of punishment throughout the season as a result.

Penn State had a few faces back from injury against Ohio State on Saturday. True freshman Noah Cain played for the first time since suffering an apparent lower-body against Michigan State on October 26, and KJ Hamler was back in the lineup after exiting his team’s game against Indiana last week. Franklin stated that Cain and Hamler were game-time decisions in the lead-up to Saturday’s game.

Additionally, Michal Menet started at center and played in his regular capacity after FOX 43 in Harrisburg reported that he wouldn’t play due to an undisclosed injury.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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