Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz knows how dangerous Sean Clifford can be

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Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford has been off to a much better start than he experienced a year ago. As a result, he has certainly caught the attention of the head coach of Penn State’s next opponent, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz.

While discussing his team and the upcoming showdown between Iowa and Penn State this Saturday, Ferentz was complimentary of Clifford. Ferentz is well aware of how confident Clifford appears to be this season and has stressed the importance of not allowing Clifford to get going with his feet for very long.

“Offensively, their quarterback is a veteran player, can make any throw that they ask him to make,” Ferentz said when discussing Clifford with the media this week. “Besides that, he’s a dangerous runner. They’ll run with him a little bit by design.”

Clifford has rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown in the first five games of the season. As noted by Ferentz, Penn State and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich have called don Clifford to take off and run on some designed plays, but much of Clifford’s rushing production has seemingly come on the fly when he doesn’t see something he likes through the air and takes off to take advantage of the open field.

Penn State has actually struggled to get much consistent production on the ground, but Clifford has accumulated some yards with his decision-making to take what the defense may be giving him.

“As dangerous as anything, if it’s not there for him, something opens up, he’ll pull it down and go,” Ferentz added. “He’ll throw off the run or take it and make the yardage necessary for a first down or even more than that. That’s where it all starts.”

That ability to take off or extend a play until a receiver can find some open space was praised by one of the players who reaps the benefits of Clifford extending plays, wide receiver Jahan Dotson.

“[We] know that we just have to stay alive and scramble drills. We literally preach it every single Sunday,” Dotson said after Penn State’s win over Indiana in Week 5. “So just staying alive with him, making sure you keep your eyes on him while he’s scrambling we know he’s gonna make a play make the right decision.”

“Again, he’s a veteran player, a leader, a guy they look to,” Ferentz said.

Clifford will be in for his biggest challenge yet. Iowa leads the nation with 12 interceptions in its first five games. The Hawkeyes picked off six passes last week against Maryland.

Clifford and the Nittany Lions visit Iowa this Saturday, Oct. 9 in a matchup of top four teams.

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