Sean Clifford Passing Chart (Ohio State): Hobbled Clifford Can't Find Rhythm Against Buckeyes

By Nick Polak on November 26, 2019 at 12:05 pm
Nov 23, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) leaves the game with an injury during the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.
Joe Maiorana-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.


Thanks to Sean Clifford's injury, the passing chart is rather light this week. As we'll get into below the jump, even before leaving the game, it was clear that he was less than 100% as he was laboring with every movement he made. That fact combined with the presence of the fearsome Buckeye defense meant tough sledding for the Cincinnati-native, but he did what he could with what he had.

Clifford Passing Chart (Ohio State)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 0/1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
0/1
-
-
-
10-19 YARDS -
-
-
-
1/1
18 yds
-
-
-
-
-
-
1/1
18 yds
-
-
0-9 YARDS 3/5
18 yds
-
1 drop
2/2
16 yds
-
-
3/5
21 yds
-
-
8/12
55 yds
-
1 drop
BEHIND L.O.S. 0/1
-
-
-
0/0
-
-
-
1/2
-2 yds
-
-
1/3
-2 yds
-
-
TOTALS 3/7
18 yds
-
1 drop
3/3
34 yds
-
-
4/7
19 yds
-
-
10/17
71 yds
-
1 drop
  • 4-man rush: 7/10, 43 yards, 1 dop
  • 5-man rush: 1/2, 12 yards
  • 6+ man rush: 2/5, 16 yards
  • 1st Down: 4/7, 26 yards, 1 drop
  • 2nd Down: 5/6, 40 yards
  • 3rd Down: 1/4, 5 yards

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 64.7%

It was obvious from the get-go in this one that Sean Clifford wasn't anywhere near 100%. The quarterback took big hits in both the Minnesota and Indiana games, and it all finally caught up to him after taking another massive blow against the Buckeyes. Even before that hit that knocked him out of the game, though, he was struggling in this one. Look no further than this early scramble for proof.

The limp in his step is painfully obvious when you watch it back. A healthy Clifford easily picks up that first down or at least fights for it. Alas, that was not the case on this day.

With his limited game time, there isn't a whole lot of data to use to assess Clifford's performance. Thanks to his lingering injuries and a relentless Ohio State defense that seemed to be very aware of the fact that the opposing quarterback wasn't going to be able to gash them on the ground, there just wasn't much available in the passing game.

Despite those complications, this wasn't a bad performance from the quarterback. He had another great improvisation play when he rolled out to his left and found an open Justin Shorter for a big first down, and despite the pressure he was facing, only threw a few uncatchable passes. Hopefully, he's given ample time to heal up (Will Levis can handle Rutgers).

And though it's a shame that Clifford was forced to leave the game afterward, I'm very much enjoying the "Single-Dribble-Then-Pass" play that is becoming a staple of the Penn State offense.

I don't have a full chart to track Will Levis's passes, but the backup went 6-of-11 passing with 57 yards. He completed one pass beyond 20 yards (to Hamler), one pass in the 10-19 yard range (Freiermuth near the goal line), and the rest were between 0 and 9 yards.

The Drops

While Clifford was in the game, there was only one drop, courtesy of Jahan Dotson on a slant route during the first drive. It was an expertly run route by Dotson, so it's a shame that he couldn't pull the ball in. There were two more drops when Levis was in the game – one was the Journey Brown drop near the goal line (more on that in the receiving chart) and the other was a diving attempt from Justin Shorter. The Shorter one is a harsh drop, but due to the degree of difficulty, it will be nothing more than a blip for his Hands+ rating.

Incompletion Stats
  • 2 overthrows
  • 1 wide throw
  • 1 dropped pass
  • 3 broken up passes
Clifford Passing Chart (Season)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 5/19
152 yds
2 TD, 3 INT
2 drops
3/15
125 yds
2 TD, 2 INT
3 drops
5/15
186 yds
3 TD
1 drop
13/49
463 yds
7 TD, 5 INT
6 drops
10-19 YARDS 7/14
127 yds
-
1 drop
1 batted pass
18/34
346 yds
4 TD
7 drops
12/17
281 yds
4 TD, INT
2 drops
37/65
754 yds
8 TD, INT
10 drops
1 batted pass
0-9 YARDS 33/49
334 yds
TD
4 drops
1 batted pass
17/25
299 yds
TD
2 drops
2 batted passes
39/48
445 yds
3 TD
5 drops
89/122
1,078 yds
5 TD
11 drops
3 batted passes
BEHIND L.O.S. 23/28
134 yds
2 TD
1 drop
2 batted passes
4/5
-7 yds
-
-
11/18
99 yds
-
2 drops
38/51
226 yds
2 TD
3 drops
2 batted passes
TOTALS 68/110
747 yds
5 TD, 3 INT
8 drops
4 batted passes
42/79
763 yds
7 TD, 2 INT
12 drops
2 batted passes
67/98
1,011 yds
10 TD, INT
10 drops
177/299
2,521 yds
22 TD, 6 INT
30 drops
6 batted passes
12 throwaways
  • 2-man rush: 1/1, 9 yards
  • 3-man rush: 6/9, 41 yards, INT, 1 drop, 1 throwaway
  • 4-man rush: 89/165, 1,238 yards, 10 TD, 4 INT, 18 drops, 3 batted passes, 6 throwaways
  • 5-man rush: 51/75, 675 yards, 6 TD, 5 drops, 3 batted passes, 3 throwaways
  • 6+ man rush: 30/49, 558 yards, 6 TD, INT, 5 drops, 2 throwaways
  • 1st Down: 75/121, 1,155 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT, 13 drops, 1 batted pass, 4 throwaways
  • 2nd Down: 58/97, 736 yards, 6 TD, 7 drops, 4 batted passes, 6 throwaways
  • 3rd Down: 42/77, 593 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT, 9 drops, 1 batted pass, 2 throwaways
  • 4th Down: 2/4, 37 yards, 1 TD

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 74.7%

**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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