Another Tough Day for Daryll Clark
Daryll Clark said he’ll sleep. Really. His plan to cope with Saturday’s 24-7 loss to Ohio State involved visiting with his family and getting the latest news from home, then watching a little football and trying to relax. “I’ll think about what coulda, woulda shoulda happened,” he said.
He’ll do the same Sunday. “And then Monday,” he said, “it’s gone.”
Chances are, getting over this won’t be as easy as the senior quarterback made it sound. The loss ruined Penn State’s chance of getting to a BCS game, and it will also probably raise the questions of why Clark struggles in big games, questions that seemed to have been put to rest with two weeks ago when he threw four touchdown passes at Michigan in Penn State’s dominating victory over its longtime nemesis.
Clark knows the questions are out there, and he faces them. Plenty of players duck the media after a tough game, or give short, clipped answers. Not Clark. Just as he did after the tough loss to Iowa, he stayed in the media room and answered every last query with class and grace, even the one about whether his Penn State legacy will be as the guy who stumbled on the biggest stage.
“Every time I take the field, I give my all,” he said. “No matter what happens, who we’re playing, I don’t give up until the last play.”
Over and over, Clark patiently explained the Lions’ biggest problem: They never got an offensive rhythm going. “Just when we would do something good, a play or two later something would happen to knock us back,” he said. Reads the Nittany Lions had expected to be open turned out to be closed; he wasn’t seeing exactly what he had expected on the field, given the scouting report. He did expect Ohio State’s front seven to pressure him, but he was surprised at how quickly the pocket collapsed. “I can’t stress enough,” he said, “our rhythm was totally off.”
Later, he turned more introspective, saying he hadn’t done enough to help the team win: “I could have played 10 times better.”
Clark said he slept after the Iowa game, and he followed up that terrible showing with five good games in a row. He expects nothing less out of himself after this loss.
“We’ve got two football games left to play, and next week will be the last time I ever suit up and play here,” he said. “So we’ve definitely got to have a good showing.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor