Sean Clifford Passing Chart (Purdue): Early Success for Clifford Dictates Final Line

By Nick Polak on October 7, 2019 at 9:44 am
Oct 5, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) drops back to pass against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Welcome back 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.


The Penn State offense went into a shell after putting up 28 points to start the game, and the play calling reflected as much. Clifford wasn't given as many opportunities to throw the ball from the second quarter on, which limited his overall numbers. Still, he was mostly right on target just as he was against Maryland, just with less volume.

Clifford Passing Chart (Purdue)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 2/2
45 yds
TD
-
0/1
-
INT
-
0/1
-
-
-
2/4
45 yds
TD
INT
10-19 YARDS -
-
-
-
0/1
-
-
1 drop
2/2
120 yds
TD
-
2/3
120 yds
TD
1 drop
0-9 YARDS 2/3
21 yds
-
-
2/2
18 yds
-
-
3/3
17 yds
-
-
7/8
56 yds
-
-
BEHIND L.O.S. 7/9
37 yds
TD
1 batted pass
-
-
-
-
2/3
6 yds
-
1 QB hit
9/12
43 yds
TD
1 batted pass
TOTALS 11/14
37 yds
2 TD
1 batted pass
2/4
18 yds
INT
1 drop
7/9
143 yds
TD
-
20/29
264 yds
3 TD, INT
1 drop
1 batted pass
2 throwaways
1 QB hit
  • 3-man rush: 2/3, 10 yards, 1 throwaway
  • 4-man rush: 10/18, 133 yards, TD, INT, 1 drop, 1 throwaway, 1 batted pass
  • 5-man rush: 4/4, 23 yards, TD
  • 6+ man rush: 4/4, 98 yards, TD
  • 1st Down: 7/10, 54 yards, TD, INT, 1 drop, 1 throwaway
  • 2nd Down: 6/9, 112 yards, 2 TD, 1 throwaway
  • 3rd Down: 7/10, 98 yards, 1 batted pass

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 87.5%

Goin' Deep?

Since Big Ten play began, the deep ball hasn't been a huge part of the Penn State passing attack. It hasn't slowed them down much, and they did take a few shots in this one, but the 20+ yard passes just haven't been as prevalent as Penn State fans have gotten used to.

That's not to say there weren't big plays in this one; Jahan Dotson went for a 72-yard touchdown and Nick Bowers rumbled for a 48-yard catch-and-run of his own. Still, it is worth questioning if Clifford will rediscover his deep ball touch at some point.

Go Ahead and Blitz

Safe to say that Clifford and Ricky Rahne have figured out how to attack a blitzing defense since the Pitt game struggles. With five rushers or more against Purdue, Clifford was a perfect 8/8 for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. The big difference has been the introduction of the screen game, and the timing with which they've gone to it.

When he's under pressure, Clifford still gets a little jumpy with his feet in the pocket. But Rahne has done a great job of neutralizing a lot of that pressure on expected blitzing downs with screens, short passes, and using his tight ends in the box as blockers. It was far from a perfect game called by the Penn State offensive coordinator, but at least for a good portion of the game, he did a nice job protecting his quarterback.

The Pick

Clifford's first interception of the season came a week ago on an underthrown deep ball and a phenomenal play by Maryland safety Nick Cross. This week's interception was a different story.

As Hamler raced down the seam, not even looking for the football until he had passed all of the deep defenders, Clifford uncorked a pass in his direction. The problem, though, was that the ball landed in the arms of a Purdue defensive back about seven yards short of where Hamler would have needed the ball to be to make the catch. And had he made the catch, he would have easily scored.

This one, more than anything, looked like a case of miscommunication. Clifford has shown a bit of a tendency to put too much air under his deeper passes this season, but this one was so off-target, and Hamler was so late looking for it, that it seems like the two just weren't on the same page.

The Drops

Only one drop this week, the culprit being Dan Chisena. This would have been a tough grab over the middle as there was a defender right on top of him and the ball was thrown behind him. But the speedster had both hands on it and could have made the grab.

  • The incompletion stats for the week...
    • 1 interception
    • 1 drop
    • 1 QB hit
    • 1 batted pass
    • 2 overthrows
    • 1 underthrow
    • 2 throwaways
Clifford Passing Chart (Season)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 3/8
90 yds
TD, INT
-
2/7
72 yds
TD, INT
1 drop
4/10
145 yds
3 TD
1 drop
9/25
307 yds
5 TD, 2 INT
2 drops
10-19 YARDS 2/4
38 yds
-
1 drop
7/16
123 yds
TD
3 drops
4/5
145 yds
TD
-
13/25
306 yds
2 TD
4 drops
0-9 YARDS 16/19
167 yds
TD
1 drop
10/13
229 yds
TD
1 drop
1 batted pass
19/22
265 yds
TD
3 drops
45/54
661 yds
3 TD
5 drops
1 batted pass
BEHIND L.O.S. 15/17
119 yds
2 TD
1 batted pass
2/2
-2 yds
-
-
6/8
52 yds
-
1 drop
23/27
169 yds
2 TD
1 drop
1 batted pass
TOTALS 36/48
414 yds
4 TD, INT
2 drops
1 batted pass
21/38
422 yds
3 TD, INT
4 drops
1 batted pass
33/45
607 yds
5 TD
5 drops
90/135
1,443 yds
12 TD, 2 INT
12 drops
2 batted pass
3 throwaways
1 QB hit
  • 2-man rush: 1/1, 9 yards
  • 3-man rush: 2/3, 10 yards, 1 throwaway
  • 4-man rush: 49/82, 790 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 9 drops, 2 throwaways, 1 batted pass
  • 5-man rush: 25/31, 367 yards, 2 TD, 1 drop, 1 batted pass
  • 6+ man rush: 13/18, 267 yards, 3 TD, 2 drops
  • 1st Down: 41/62, 692 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 4 drops, 2 throwaways
  • 2nd Down: 29/39, 414 yards, 4 TD, 4 drops, 1 batted pass, 1 throwaway
  • 3rd Down: 19/32, 309 yards, 2 TD, 4 drops, 1 batted pass
  • 4th Down: 1/2, 28 yards, 1 touchdown

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 79%

**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)

Batted balls are omitted because this is a judgment of accuracy, not quarterbacking ability as a whole.

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