No. 9 Penn State Opens Season With 31-7 Win Over Akron
Entering preseason camp last year, there were questions amongst Nittany Nation and the college football universe. Before the end of September, those questions had quickly been answered and new ones surfaced, like, "Is Daryll Clark the best quarterback in the Big Ten?" Before Thanksgiving dinner was served, there was no question that Penn State's first-year signal-caller not only was the Big Ten's best, but he deserved mention amongst the nation's top quarterbacks. The vastly talented and dynamic Clark quickly demonstrated he could provide the leadership and consistently strong play required at the squad's most vital position and lead the Nittany Lions back into national championship contention. Possessing multiple skills and a highly-competitive attitude, he plays a critical role in the success of one of the nation's most productive and balanced offenses. An insightful and engaging young man, Clark made significant progress during his initial season as the Nittany Lions' starter and should continue to elevate his game to remain among the nation's most productive players. Upon completion of spring practice this past April, it came as no surprise when Clark and linebacker Sean Lee were elected 2009 co-captains by their teammates. A semifinalist for the 2008 Davey O'Brien and Maxwell awards, Clark should again be among the primary candidates for those honors, in addition to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, All-America and the Silver Football, presented to the Big Ten's most valuable player. Selected 2008 first-team all-conference by the media and coaches, Clark is an athletic, instinctive and intelligent student-athlete. He quickly took command of the huddle at the start of last season and has the utmost respect from his teammates and coaches for his calm in the huddle and ability to make smart decisions under pressure. A poised, accurate and strong-armed passer, he exhibits great physical and mental presence and toughness. Delivering one of the top seasons by a quarterback in program history, Clark's effective play, leadership and determination were instrumental in Penn State leading the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, and ranking second in rushing and third in passing offense. The Nittany Lions ranked among the Top 20 nationally in the first three categories. Last year, he was 192-of-321 for 2,592 yards, the third-highest passing yardage season in Penn State history. Clark threw 19 touchdown passes and only six interceptions among his 321 attempts for a superlative 1.86 interception percentage that ranked as the fourth-lowest in school season annals. Penn State was tied for fourth in the nation in fewest interceptions thrown. Clark was second in the Big Ten in pass efficiency, his 192 completions ranked fourth in Penn State season annals and his 19 touchdown passes were tied for fourth. As most of the nation first witnessed during the 2007 Alamo Bowl, Clark is a strong, quick and elusive runner. In last year's 45-14 win over Oregon State, he dragged several defenders the last five yards to complete a tough and electrifying 18-yard touchdown run. The former Ursuline HS All-Ohio standout was third on the squad with 282 yards on 79 attempts (3.6) and had 10 rushing touchdowns last year. Among the numerous school records he broke in 2008 was the season touchdowns responsible for mark, as his 29 scores (19 passing, 10 rushing) eclipsed Michael Robinson's record of 28 in 2005. The 2008 accomplishment Clark likely is most proud of was graduating in December, earning his telecommunications degree in 3 1/2 years. He is working on a second degree, in journalism. He is one of seven returning Nittany Lions from Ohio.
2008 Senior Season
Clark won the starting job in preseason and went on to have one of the top seasons by a quarterback in program history. His effective play and leadership was instrumental in Penn State ranking in the Top 20 nationally in rushing (17th, 205.8 ypg), total (14th, 448.9 ypg) and scoring offense (11th, 38.9 ppg) in 2008. The Nittany Lions led the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, were second in rushing and third in passing offense (243.1 ypg). Selected first-team all-conference by the coaches and media, Clark was the runner-up in voting for the Silver Football, presented by the Chicago Tribune to the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player. He also was among the semifinalists for the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards. Clark excelled from the season's outset in directing the Spread HD attack, completing 192-of-321 attempts for 2,592 yards, the third-highest passing yardage season in Penn State history. He threw 19 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in his 321 attempts for a superlative 1.86 interception percentage that ranked as the fourth-lowest in school season annals. Thanks primarily to Clark, Penn State was tied for fourth in the nation in fewest interceptions thrown (six). Two of his picks came in the final 3:00 against Southern California in the 2009 Rose Bowl as he tried to get the Lions back within one score. Clark was second in the Big Ten in pass efficiency and 25th nationally with a 143.4 rating. His 192 completions ranked fourth in Penn State season annals and his 19 touchdown passes were tied for fourth. He was third on the squad with 282 yards on 79 attempts (3.6) and had 10 rushing touchdowns. Among the numerous school records he broke in 2008 was the season touchdowns responsible for mark, as his 29 scores (19 passing, 10 rushing) eclipsed Michael Robinson's record of 28 in 2005. The accolades and numbers on the field are nice, but the 2008 accomplishment Clark likely is most proud of was graduating in December, earning his telecommunications degree in 3 1/2 years. Two weeks after graduating, Clark delivered a superb effort against USC in the 2009 Rose Bowl. He was 21-of-36 for 273 yards, with two touchdowns and two late interceptions, while rushing for 17 yards and another score. His 273 passing yards and 270 yards of total offense were Penn State bowl records and his 21 completions tied Robinson's school mark and were a career-best. Clark's 36 pass attempts also were a career-high and No. 2 in Penn State bowl annals to Robinson's 39 in the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl. His nine-yard touchdown burst knotted the score at 7-7 and he connected with Derrick Williams and Jordan Norwood for scoring strikes against the Trojans' No. 1 ranked defense. With the Big Ten title nd a Bowl Championship Series berth at stake, Clark again rose to the occasion to lead the Nittany Lions to a 49-18 thumping of No. 15 Michigan State to conclude the regular-season. He threw for a career-high 341 yards, the sixth-highest total in program history, and a career-best four touchdowns. Clark picked apart the Spartan secondary with big plays, going 16-of-26 and completing passes of 70, 49, 37, 33, 32, 28, and 26 yards during his superlative day. His 32-yard touchdown strike to Williams in the second quarter broke the game wide open, giving Penn State a 28-0 lead, while his 70-yard scoring connection with Deon Butler late in the third quarter was a career-long. Clark was the primary catalyst for Penn State's school-record 419 passing yards against the Spartans, helping direct the Lions to 557 yards, with a season-high nine plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage. Clark also ran for a touchdown in the Michigan State game and was named Big Ten Offensive Player-of-the-Week for the second time of the season. In his second career start, Clark threw for 215 yards and ran for 61, for 276 yards of total offense to direct the Lions to a 45-14 belting of Oregon State. He was 14-of-23, throwing touchdown passes to Mickey Shuler and Norwood. Clark's versatility was on display when he had a career-long rush of 24 yards in the first quarter, helping the Lions grab a 35-7 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Clark literally pushed the lead to 42-7 by dragging several Oregon State defenders the last five yards to complete a tough and electrifying 18-yard touchdown run. Among his numerous other standout performances was guiding Penn State to its highest point total against a ranked opponent since 1994 in the Nittany Lions' 48-7 drubbing of Wisconsin. He threw for a then-career-best 244 yards, completing 16-of-25 passes, with one touchdown and one interception to earn Big Ten Offensive Player-of-the-Week accolades. Clark capped a brilliant third-quarter drive by hitting Deon Butler with a 44-yard scoring strike. He also notched the first multiple rushing touchdown game of his career, scoring two on runs of two and four yards against the Badgers. Clark was on the field for 732 snaps, topped by 74 at Iowa.
2007 Junior Season
Playing in eight games, Clark was productive during his time on the field, gaining valuable experience. For the season, he was six-of-nine passing for 31 yards and gained 78 yards on 12 carries, for an impressive 6.5 average, with two touchdowns. Trailing Texas A&M, 14-0, in the first quarter of the 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl, the Penn State coaching staff turned to Clark to provide an offensive spark. Seeing the most important experience in his collegiate career, he responded, combining with Anthony Morelli and the offense to quickly get the Nittany Lions back into the game en route to a 24-17 victory. Clark gained nine yards on his first carry against the Aggies on his way to 50 yards on just six carries, for a superlative 8.3 average. After Morelli's 30-yard scoring strike to Deon Butler and A.J. Wallace's fumble recovery at the A&M 11, Clark got the call on first down. He bolted up the middle, leapt and stretched the ball over the plane in an electrifying play that knotted the game at 14 early in the second quarter. Later in the half, he had two more 11-yard runs on the same drive, culminating in Kevin Kelly's go-ahead field goal, giving him 42 yards on just four carries at the break.
In the 38-7 win over No. 19 Wisconsin, Clark directed a six-play, 42-yard scoring drive in just 2:06. He had a 17-yard burst, capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, to give him 21 yards on three carries. In the win over Florida International, Clark was two-of-two passing for a season-high 18 yards. Against Ohio State, he was four-of-five for 13 yards. He was on the field for 47 snaps, led by 13 against Florida International and 10 against Texas A&M.
2006 Sophomore Season
Playing in seven games, Clark was 14-of-27 for 116 yards and gained 48 yards on the ground, with three touchdowns. He averaged 3.2 yards on his 15 carries. Clark made his debut at No. 4 Notre Dame, going three-of-eight for 36 yards. He scored his first career touchdown on a five-yard run, capping a 13-play, 83-yard drive. Clark gained a season-high 28 yards on four rushing attempts against the Irish. Against hometown Youngstown State, Clark completed three-of-four passes for 25 yards. He scored his second touchdown on an 18-yard dash up the middle, capping an eight-play, 64-yard drive. He gained 26 yards on four carries against the Penguins. Clark entered the game with No. 4 Michigan in the third quarter after starter Anthony Morelli was injured. He led Penn State on four possessions, completing three-of-six passes for 16 yards, but was later sidelined with a mild concussion. Against Temple, Clark was four-of-seven for 32 yards with a 23-yard strike to Brendan Perretta. He guided two scoring drives, completing one with a one-yard touchdown plunge.
2005 Freshman Season
Clark did not see any action.
As a senior at Ursuline HS, Clark threw for 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns. A team captain as a senior for Coach Dan Murphy, he was named second-team Division IV All-Ohio. Clark also was selected all-league and all-area as a junior and senior. He attended Kiski Prep during the 2004-05 academic year.
Full name is Daryll Lawrence Clark. He is the son of Daryll and Sheryl Clark and has two brothers, Keith and Darnell. Clark earned his degree in telecommunications in December 2008 and is working on a second degree, in journalism. He enjoys playing video games in his spare time. Born February 5, 1986 in Youngstown, Ohio.