Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford told reporters Tuesday that fans lashed out at him on social media with death threats following the Nittany Lions' loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Nov. 9.
"It's kind of sad to say, but you know how some fans get," he said. "It gets a little crazy. I was, kind of, sick and tired of getting death threats and some pretty explicit and pretty tough-to-read messages."
He revealed he deleted his social media apps after the loss.
"You learn how to deal with certain things and how certain people are going to react because it's a very passionate game with a lot of passionate people," he said. "You know, our fans are definitely one of if not the most passionate in the country. I just try to stay away from it. I appreciate all the positive people that are around, but there are also people that try to tear you down."
Clifford completed 23 of his 43 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown in the game, though he also threw three interceptions. One of those picks came on Penn State's final drive when a touchdown would have put it in position to win.
This isn't the first time Penn State fans have made national headlines this season, as alumnus David Petersen wrote a racist letter to safety Jonathan Sutherland in October. Petersen called Sutherland's dreadlocks "disgusting" and "not attractive" while yearning for a time when athletes were "clean-cut."
Despite the fans' frustration following Penn State's only loss of the year, the Nittany Lions still control their standing in the Big Ten race and will be positioned to make the College Football Playoff if they defeat Ohio State on Saturday.
Clifford will face counterpart Justin Fields in that Top 10 showdown, and the Ohio State signal-caller told reporters "it blows my mind" a fellow competitor would receive death threats following a loss.
"I'm at a loss for words," Fields added.
The winner of Saturday's game will be in first place in the Big Ten East and well on its way to an appearance in the conference's Dec. 7 championship game.