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Clifford Named to the Davey O’Brien Award Watch List

Courtesy of GoPSU Athletics

Junior is one of 30 quarterbacks on the list 


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State junior quarterback Sean Clifford was one of 30 quarterbacks named to The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award watch list, it was announced on Tuesday.


The award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. Penn State has had two O’Brien Award winners, with Todd Blackledge (1982) and Kerry Collins (1994) each earning the honor. John Schaffer was also named a finalist in 1986.


Sean Clifford Bio:


  • Has appeared in 16 games, making 12 starts at quarterback.
  • Selected All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media in 2019.
  • Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2019.
  • Named to the 2019 CFPA National Performer of the Year Trophy Midseason watch list, the Manning Award Midseason watch list and the Maxwell Award watch list.
  • Completed 39 passes of 20 or more yards in 2019.
  • Ranked third in the Big Ten in 2019 in passing touchdowns (23; 32nd in the FBS), yards per completion (14.04; 18th) and yards per pass attempt (8.32; 22nd), was fourth in in passing efficiency (148.54; 26th) and was seventh in passing yardage (2,654).
  • Was third in the conference in points responsible for per game (14.3; 29th in the FBS) and fourth in total yards per game (254.7; 43rd) in 2019.
  • Ranked third among Big Ten quarterbacks with 33.5 rushing yards per contest in 2019.
  • Tied for 13th all-time at Penn State with 25 career touchdown passes.
  • In 2019, became the third Penn State quarterback to have three games with 250 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in a season, joining Trace McSorley (2017, 4 games) and Christian Hackenberg (2013, 3 games).
  • Was the fifth quarterback in program history to have multiple games with four or more passing touchdowns.
  • In 2019, finished fifth at Penn State in passing touchdowns (23), seventh in passing efficiency (148.54), eighth in passing yardage (2,654), ninth in completion percentage (59.2), tied for 10th in 200-yard passing games (6) and 14th in completions (189).
  • Threw for 287 yards in the first half at Maryland (9/27/19), breaking the PSU record held by Trace McSorley (258; Georgia State, 2017).
  • Threw for 398 yards at Maryland (9/27/19), the third-most in a game at Penn State, trailing only Christian Hackenberg (454; vs. UCF, 2014) and Zack Mills (399; vs. Iowa, 2002).
  • Threw for 340 yards at Minnesota (11/9/19), tied for the 16th-most in a game at Penn State.


Sixteen semifinalists selected from the final watch list will be named on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The Davey O’Brien Foundation will announce the three finalists two weeks later (Tuesday, Nov. 24). The 2020 Davey O’Brien Award winner will be unveiled live on ESPN Thursday, Dec. 10, during The Home Depot College Football Awards.


Penn State on 2020 Watch Lists

Bednarik Award: Micah Parsons

O’Brien Award: Sean Clifford

Lott IMPACT Trophy: Micah Parsons

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