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Penn St. Preview: QB Daryll Clark

It being a mere 16 days till kickoff of the Capitol One Bowl, it's about time LSU fans start to focus on our 10th win. Over the coming weeks, I'll break down the Lions by position in an effort to help you know what to look for in your hangover haze that Friday morning...

When someone says Penn St. football, everyone always thinks the same things: JoePa and Linebacker U. You also think of the "3 yards and a cloud of dust" offense that is a stereotype of the Big 10. It's surprising to realize then that their offense is led by a nearly 3000 yd passer.

In his 5yr senior season, Daryll Clark is the good to great QB every team wishes it had. Kind of an average height and build for a QB, Clark does a great job of staying in the pocket behind his O Line and finding a short to medium range pass that moves them up the field. He's got 5 receivers with more than 20 catches and 4 with more than 300 yds.  He's very accurate too, averaging a completion percentage in the high 60's in every game. Every game except...

...PSU's 2 losses that pushed them out of the BCS picture. In both losses, PSU's O-Line was thoroughly out-muscled and Clark became vulnerable. A combined 5 sacks and 4 INTS, while bad, wasn't nearly as crippling as his completion percentage dropping into the high 30's. And when things don't go right, Penn St.'s game plan goes out the window and the play calling gets conservative very fast. In both losses this only made matters worse because Penn State's RB's didn't fair much better behind the same beaten O-Line.

I wouldn't call him gun shy, but clearly he is a much worse QB when you can force him out of the pocket. And we don't have to worry about missing the sack and him taking off for the 1st down either. He has 7 rushing touchdowns on the year, but only averages about 6 runs and 10-20 yds a game. We won't have to sack him, just force him into a bad passing situation and then let Chad Jones and Patrick Peterson do what they do best.

Other QB's to watch for:

Backup QB Kevin Newsome has only 11 passing attempts on the year, most of it in mop-up duty during some blow-outs. 2 years ago PSU pulled out a wildcat formation that hadn't been seen all year during the Alamo Bowl (featuring then Jr. Daryll Clark) and ran wild over A&M with it, but don't expect that kind of trickeration this time, at least that's what JoePa says anyway...