As Clifford returned to the sideline after the touchdown, he passed just past Franklin on the sideline without making eye contact. The two, like most coach and quarterback tandems, are the twin pillars of their team’s successes and shortcomings.
Clifford, 24, is much the same quarterback he was when he took over as a starter in 2019 – a spunky competitor who has rarely been able to put his team ahead of top teams with his arm or his decision-making. On the same day he set a touchdown pass record for a Penn State quarterback, Clifford turned the ball over four times.
“The key stat, obviously, is wins and losses,” said Clifford, who was greeted with boos as he stepped onto the court for final possession. “It is difficult to assess how I play individually. All I know is that we didn’t take care of business.
Franklin, however, hasn’t been able to find anyone he likes better. Will Levis couldn’t beat Clifford, and now he’s starting in Kentucky. Christian Veilleux couldn’t knock Clifford down last season, and highly regarded freshman Drew Allar has yet to be deemed worthy to knock Clifford down.
Clifford will leave after this season, but Franklin will not go anywhere.
As a parting gift, Sandy Barbour, who retired as athletic director of Penn State last summer, handed a new 10-year contract – worth $75 million plus incentives – at Franklin last November, despite several average seasons and repeated losses to school rivals. .
When asked to characterize the gap between Penn State and Ohio State and Michigan, Franklin turned away from the questioner.
“They have good football teams,” he said. “We played really well against Ohio State today, we had a chance to win the game, we made too many mistakes in a critical moment, which you can’t do against a top opponent like that. -the.”
Whether Franklin will ever be able to bridge the rift between the teams remains uncertain, but his contract guarantees him plenty of opportunities.
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