Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Penn State Football

Penn State QB Sean Clifford Didn’t Waste a Second of Senior Day, Days Leading up to it

Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford participated in two Senior Days in college, a distinction that is far less rare now than it was before COVID-19.

Last November, Clifford was wrapping up his fifth season at Penn State, and he didn’t know if he’d be coming back for Year 6.

Naturally, Penn State’s Senior Day took place before its last home game last season, and, well, the day could have gone better.

Penn State pounded Rutgers, 28-0, and that was a positive for Clifford. But “The Big Red Dog” was sick as a dog for Senior Day No. 1, and barely made it through the first quarter thanks to a campus-wide illness. Weeks later, Clifford announced his intent to return to Penn State for one last ride. If Clifford left after 2021, his last season would have been a sour one. Penn State lost six of its last eight games to finish the year 7-6.

This year, Penn State finished the regular season 10-2. Clifford played the whole game on Senior Day and went 19-24 for 202 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in Penn State’s 35-19 win over Michigan State Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

It was an emotional day, and a great one.

Clifford spent the whole week getting ready for it.

“I cleared my schedule, and I really wanted to take every day as the gift that it was,” Clifford told reporters after the game. “Just the littlest things. Going to the nutrition bar… talking to the janitors on the way out, picking up some trash. Whatever it might be, it was kind of the whole week for me. And then definitely when I was running out, and I saw my brother and my family and my girlfriend and all them. That was when it definitely hit me.”

Clifford forgot to ring Penn State’s Victory Bell after the game. That’s about the only thing that went wrong after the win. Clifford signed autographs, took pictures with fans and, after he got done talking with media, went out to the field with his brother, Liam, a receiver on the team.

Getting to team up with his younger bro over the past two years is just one of the many things Clifford loves about his school.

“I can’t thank Penn State enough, Penn State University,” Clifford said. Starting with the president (Neeli Bendapudi), all the way down to our janitors in (The Lasch Building.) Everybody is always showing you love.”

Penn State fans haven’t shown Clifford love all the time.
“I’m going to miss the love I get when I threw an incompletion or two,” Clifford said with a smile. “I guess I can say that now.”

Nobody likes to be criticized, but Clifford feels it happens because Penn State fans have high standards, and those high standards are part of what makes the place great to him.

“People are going to be critical,” Clifford said, “but that’s because this place is special, and they demand excellence and demand the best, which is awesome. That’s what this place should be. They should demand the best. They should want to win every game. They should want to be elite because that’s what this program deserves. Am I bummed that I couldn’t get it done all the way to that point? Yeah. But, man, what a journey it was.”

Clifford’s self-awareness is excellent, and he made it clear in the weeks leading up to senior day that he knows he’s a lucky man.

“How many people do what we get to do?” Clifford said. “I dreamt it, doing what I do. Not many people can say that they took their dream, literally what I would fall asleep thinking about, to reality.”

Many people would give anything to be Penn State’s starting quarterback for one season.

Clifford has been in that position for four.

In that time, Penn State has had good years and bad years. Clifford’s thrown dimes and picks. He’s been cheered and booed, but most importantly, he feels he’s evolved as a person.

“I’ve definitely grown substantially as a football player but more so as a man,” he said, “and that’s not because of anything that I’ve done. That’s really because of the people that have surrounded me and poured energy and love and passion into me to get me where I’m at. The journey is going to be difficult. It’s going to be tough for anybody, and my two cents is always just stay true to who you are and, enjoy the process, fall in love with the process.

A key to Clifford’s positive attitude has been to remind himself “about the little things every single day.”

“That’s really what it’s all about,” Clifford said. “It’s about setting goals, but at the same time, it’s about literally while you’re in the moment reminding yourself why you love what you’re doing.

“Whatever you’re doing, love what you’re doing, and just take a couple seconds every once in a while, every day, and just realize how blessed you are.”

Although Penn State fans have varying opinions of Clifford as a quarterback, he loves Nittany Nation.

”I really can’t say enough about how the fans have been,” Clifford said. “They’re bringing energy, noise, excitement. You can feel it in Beaver Stadium. You look out today; we’re in late, late November, fighting for a New Year’s Six Bowl, and they show up again. So, realistically, I can’t thank the fans enough. This fanbase has meant everything to me.”

It’s hard for human beings not to take things for granted, and many fall short.

Sean Clifford didn’t take his time at Penn State for granted.

“I’m glad that I can really say that I have no regrets, and I really did enjoy the moment.

Get NSN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts by email.

More from Nittany Sports Now

Penn State Football

0 Penn State football could be losing its leading receiver from the 2023 season to the transfer portal. On Tuesday, KeAndre Lambert-Smith wasn’t seen by...

Penn State Football

3s Not the kind of transfer portal related news that Penn State wants to be hearing as they approach the end of spring practices....

Penn State Football

0 Year 11 of Penn State spring football under James Franklin is about to be wrapped up. Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium will be the...

Penn State Football Recruiting

2s High school recruits from across the country will be in State College this weekend for the Penn State Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium....