Sean Clifford Passing Chart (Idaho): Clifford Settles In For Solid Starting Debut

By Nick Polak on September 2, 2019 at 10:24 am
Aug 31, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) looks to throw a pass during a warm up prior to the game against the Idaho Vandals at Beaver Stadium.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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Welcome to the Sean Clifford passing chart. Each week we'll show you Clifford's chart from the most recent game, as well as his cumulative stats for the season. There may be a few differences here and there from the stat lines you see on ESPN, Sports Reference, or elsewhere, but we'll try to make sure to explain each of those differences below. Distances on the far left denote how many yards the ball traveled in the air.

Welcome to the starting lineup, Sean Clifford. The redshirt sophomore had an unenviable task on Saturday afternoon when he became the first person to start at quarterback for Penn State not named Trace McSorley since January 2, 2016. It took the Ohio-native a few drives to get comfortable, but once he did, his massive potential started to show.

Clifford Passing Chart (Idaho)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 0/1
-
-
-
2/3
72 yds
TD
-
1/1
21 yds
TD
-
3/5
93 yds
2 TD
-
10-19 YARDS 1/2
20 yds
-
-
2/3
39 yds
-
-
1/1
14 yds
-
-
4/6
73 yds
-
-
0-9 YARDS 4/5
57 yds
-
-
1/3
26 yds
-
1 batted pass
1/2
25 yds
-
1 drop
6/10
108 yds
-
1 drop
1 batted pass
BEHIND L.O.S. 0/0
-
-
-
0/0
-
-
-
1/1
16 yds
-
-
1/1
16 yds
-
-
TOTALS 5/8
77 yds
-
-
5/9
137 yds
TD
1 batted pass
4/6
76 yds
TD
1 drop
14/23
290 yds
2 TD
1 drop
1 batted pass
1 throwaway
  • 4-man rush: 8/13, 175 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 throwaway
  • 5-man rush: 6/9, 117 yards, 1 drop, 1 batted pass
  • 6+ man rush: 0/1
  • 1st Down: 12/15, 265 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 throwaway
  • 2nd Down: 2/5, 27 yards, 1 drop, 1 batted pass
  • 3rd Down: 0/2
  • 4th Down: 0/1

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 71.4%

  • Clifford started the game just 1/4 after completing his first pass of the season to Justin Shorter but settled in very nicely after the first two drives. It wasn't perfect, and he still has plenty of work to do as far as making the correct reads in the RPO game, but all in all, this was a pretty great introduction to the starter role.
  • Despite it being the first game of the season, neither Clifford nor Ricky Rahne was hesitant to call for deep passes in this one. Due to a combination of factors, including injuries, we didn't see as much of that a year ago from Trace McSorley. It was nice to see that dimension of the Nittany Lion offense return.
  • Considering how absurdly successful the Lions were on the ground (7.4 ypc on 45 attempts for 331 rushing yards), the first down passing numbers are eye-popping. Rahne was lambasted by fans on several occasions in 2018 for being too predictable with his play calls, and finding more of a balance between the passing game and the rushing game on first down would go a long way towards being more unpredictable.
  • It is also worth noting that two of Clifford's incompletions should have been pass interference or targeting calls. Mac Hippenhammer had his arm hooked on the fourth-down attempt, and Pat Freiermuth took the brunt of a textbook helmet-to-helmet hit that somehow went uncalled.
  • Only one drop! And it was from a running back! Progress!!!!
  • The incompletion stats for the week...
    • 1 drop
    • 1 batted pass
    • 1 throwaway
    • 2 should-have-been penalties
    • 1 wide throw
    • 3 overthrows
Clifford Passing Chart (Season)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 0/1
-
-
-
2/3
72 yds
TD
-
1/1
21 yds
TD
-
3/5
93 yds
2 TD
-
10-19 YARDS 1/2
20 yds
-
-
2/3
39 yds
-
-
1/1
14 yds
-
-
4/6
73 yds
-
-
0-9 YARDS 4/5
57 yds
-
-
1/3
26 yds
-
1 batted pass
1/2
25 yds
-
1 drop
6/10
108 yds
-
1 drop
1 batted pass
BEHIND L.O.S. 0/0
-
-
-
0/0
-
-
-
1/1
16 yds
-
-
1/1
16 yds
-
-
TOTALS 5/8
77 yds
-
-
5/9
137 yds
TD
1 batted pass
4/6
76 yds
TD
1 drop
14/23
290 yds
2 TD
1 drop
1 batted pass
1 throwaway
  • 4-man rush: 8/13, 175 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 throwaway
  • 5-man rush: 6/9, 117 yards, 1 drop, 1 batted pass
  • 6+ man rush: 0/1
  • 1st Down: 12/15, 265 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 throwaway
  • 2nd Down: 2/5, 27 yards, 1 drop, 1 batted pass
  • 3rd Down: 0/2
  • 4th Down: 0/1

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 71.4%

**Adjusted Completion Percentage Explanation

Being that the idea of this is to find out how accurate Clifford actually is, his adjusted completion percentage is calculated by removing some externals. The formula is as follows:

Adjusted Completion Percentage = (Completions + Drops) / (Pass Attempts - Spikes - Throwaways - Batted Balls - Balls disrupted by a QB hit)

I am iffy on excluding batted balls because blame for those is equally shared between the offensive line and the quarterback, in my opinion, but since we just want to see how accurate he's been in terms of hitting his receivers, we'll take it out.

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