Time and time again, Nittany Lion Head Coach Joe Paterno throws quarterback Anthony Morelli into the fire against high ranking opponents. Time and time again, Anthony Morelli struggles mightily. Is Darryl Clark the leader Penn State needs to finally beat one of the beasts of the Big Ten?
Last year, Penn State played four ranked opponents. Shockingly enough, all of Penn State's four losses came in these highly touted contests. In these games, Morelli had four uninspiring performances, completing one touchdown pass and throwing away five interceptions. As the Big Ten Conference begins Saturday when the Nittany Lions travel to Ann Arbor, a change in quarterback is just what the Nittany Lions need.
However, this change has more to do with Michigan's weaknesses on defense and less to do with Morelli's struggles in high profile games. During Michigan's two much heralded losses this season, the defense allowed a total of 33 carries for 138 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Darryl Clark provides this rare dynamic to the Nittany Lion offense that the immobile Anthony Morellis is incapable of. Deemed a dual threat quarterback coming out of high school, Clark has not been given the opportunity to flash his speed on a consistant basis for the Nittany Lions. Given Michigan's obvious defficiency in defending the scrambling quarterback and Anthony Morelli's big game struggles, Darryl Clark deservves the start in Ann Arbor.
It is not just nervous Penn State football fans doubting Morelli's abilities, however. When NCAA Football 2008 released its new player rankings, it slotted Darryl Clark one rank better than Anthony Morelli. Although both quarterbacks downplayed this trivial statistic, Morelli said he would use it as motivation to prove the game wrong this season. He certainly has not looked motivated at times this season, specifically against Notre Dame. Darryl Clark deserves the opportunity to prove the game makers right with a start this Saturday.