Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark dismisses critics, focuses on winning
Ask Clark if he agrees, and he shrugs. He focuses on keeping the Nittany Lions' offense running smoothly.
On Saturday, Clark didn't give his critics any ammunition, tying a career mark with four touchdown passes in Penn State's 35-10 win over Michigan at Michigan Stadium.
Although he wouldn't admit it afterward, more times than not against Michigan, Clark made it look easy.
Clark, who threw for 230 yards on 16-for-27 passing, picked apart Michigan's secondary - a task made easier by knowing the Wolverines weren't going to disguise a lot of coverages.
And when Michigan gave Clark a steady diet of man-to-man looks to work against, his confidence increased as the game wore on. At times, his throws looked effortless, often finding receivers in space and hitting them in stride.
"We felt like we were in pretty good coverage when they were in man coverage," Clark said. "You kind of knew where to go with the football if everything worked out."
And with Clark in control, much of what Penn State worked out just fine.
The Nittany Lions, who hadn't won at Michigan Stadium since 1996, entered Saturday's game determined not to waste opportunities. After Penn State needed just four plays to drive 67 yards and a touchdown on its opening drive, Clark's confidence and steady play kept the Nittany Lions rolling.
"I thought today, when we had opportunities to score, we did," Clark said.
Penn State finished the day 5-for-5 on Red Zone opportunities, including three drives that ended with Clark connecting with Graham Zug.
Zug, whose three touchdown marked a career high, ran simple routes, twice finding himself open in the end zone.
"When he's on like he was today, everybody just trusts in him and believes in him to take control," Zug said.
Clark is one of 10 quarterbacks in the running for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which recognizes the nation's top collegiate quarterback.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Saturday he doesn't think Clark has gotten the credit he deserves.
But for Clark, who has led Penn State to four straight wins after being stunned by Iowa for the second year, superlatives or accolades aren't the motivation for his steady play.
"When I hear people say (he doesn't get enough credit) , I laugh about it because that's not why I play," Clark said. "I play for the team, for the coaches and to get a (win) every time we step out on the football field.
"So whether you feel like I'm credible enough or not really doesn't make a difference as long as we're winning."
Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2554 or firstname.lastname@example.org