Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Can James Franklin's squad bounce back from a disappointing 2020 campaign?
As the 2020 football season comes to an end for the Nittany Lions, the age-old question once again is asked: do you need an elite quarterback to make the college football playoffs? Comparing the four quarterbacks who have led their respective teams into the promise land vs Penn State's starting quarterback, Sean Clifford, the answer is a no-brainer. In nine games, Clifford has 19 total touchdowns, and a career-low 60.6% completion percentage. Justin fields, while only competing in 6 games, has 20 total touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 72.6%. Mac Jones for Alabama has 33 total touchdowns in 11 games, with a completion percentage of 76.5%. Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, while missing several games, has 29 total touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 69.2%. Finally Notre Dame's Ian Book, the weakest, at least statistically, of the four playoff quarterbacks, has 23 total touchdowns in 11 games, with a completion percentage of 64%. Year-in and year-out Coach Franklin talks about becoming an elite program, and to reach that level, an above average field general, unlike Penn State's current crop of quarterbacks, is necessary.