“I know exactly what I’m getting into.”
For the fourth straight year, Sean Clifford is Penn State’s Week 1 quarterback.
The sixth-year senior has played in three opening games thus far, and the number of raucous Big Ten crowds he’s played in front of exceeds that.
Clifford knows Thursday night’s crowd at Purdue will be pumped up.
“The environment is going to be hectic,” Clifford told reporters via Zoom Monday morning. “I know that they’re going to be bringing the Black Out and have a packed ass stadium. I’ve seen games like that before.”
Yes, he has. Clifford has started 33 games for Penn State and appeared in 38, so although the natural Week 1 jitters will still be there Thursday night, he sees the Purdue game as more of a business trip than he would have when he first became the starting quarterback in 2019.
“It’s different for me now,” Clifford said. “It’s much more businesslike. I have a job to do on Thursday. Not saying that it wasn’t like that when I was starting before, but it was just so new, and just, your emotions are running so high.”
Clifford’s emotions will still be running high, especially since he knows this will be his last opener.
“It’s just exciting,” he said. “Every year, there’s always been one more that I could have. But knowing that this is my last one, it definitely comes with a little more sentimental value for me.”
After the Purdue game, Penn State has 11 regular season games left.
Clifford loves the team he’s on and wants these 12 games to be his finest at Penn State.
Although Clifford obviously has wanted to win every game he’s started at Penn State, this season will be a chance for him to leave Penn State the way he wants after the team went 11-11 over the 2020 and ’21 seasons.
“I want this year to be the biggest, baddest year I’ve had, obviously,” Clifford said. “I want to end this thing the way I see it.”
Whatever happens this season, Clifford is thankful for the chance to play college football for one more autumn.
“Being able to play with my brother (receiver Liam Clifford) one more year, and then just having one more go with Penn State football,” Clifford said. “This place has given me so much. I’ve just enjoyed every single minute that I’ve been here, and to be able to say now that, Game 1 of my last season at Penn State, I couldn’t be more excited to put on the blue and white and represent such a great community.”