The debate continues: Clifford, Penix argue 2-point conversion call
Penn State's Sean Clifford and Indiana signal-caller Michael Penix each participated in this past weekend's QB Takeover "Flight School" event in Atlanta with some of the nation's other top college quarterbacks.
Among them, Florida quarterback Emory Jones, Liberty's Malik Willis, and others all had the opportunity during some downtime to revisit one of the great debates of the Nittany Lions' 2020 season. Specifically, with the game on the line in overtime and Indiana head coach Tom Allen calling for a 2-point conversion, his Hoosiers trailing 35-34, did Penix's dash to the left end zone pylon cross the plane?
Or, as Clifford and the Penn State football program would have preferred, did Penix's effort come up short?
"It doesn't matter, I broke the plane," Penix begins in the video.
"You were down though!" Clifford says, emphatically.
With quarterback guru and instructor Sean McEvoy filming, and Penix rewatching the slow motion footage of the attempt, McEvoy offered to settle the debate, saying "It's down right there."
Officially declared good by the officials, the play catapulted the Hoosiers to a 4-0 start and a No. 9 ranking, falling only once in the regular season to Ohio State before losing to Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl. The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, began a freewill from a preseason No. 8 ranking, losing their first five games before righting the ship to finish 4-5 on the year.
Beyond the good-natured fun, now nearly eight full months since the Nittany Lions' doomed 2020 campaign began with the wild upset loss in Bloomington, Clifford and Penix each offered glimpses of the high expectations that accompany their upcoming seasons.
For Penix, considered one of the top returning quarterbacks in the Big Ten, the offseason's major story remains his recovery from a torn ACL that sidelined him past the Hoosiers' sixth game of the season.
Clifford, meanwhile, stood out in his performance through the weekend, according to Shrine Bowl Director of Ops and Player Personnel, Erik Galko.
Clifford finished the 2020 season on an upward trend following a disastrous first five games, including his benching for the second half of the Nittany Lions' loss at Nebraska, ceding the start of the next game against Iowa to backup Will Levis. According to Pro Football Focus College, Clifford ranked 12th of 15 quarterbacks in the Big Ten to finish with more than 80 passing attempts, grading out at 60.9 for his passing, 68.4 for his running (4th), and 65.3 overall offensively (10th).
Penn State and Indiana will meet on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Beaver Stadium in the Nittany Lions' restart of the Big Ten slate after opening the year Sept. 4 at Wisconsin.
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