STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State head coach James Franklin said Wednesday night that starting defensive tackle PJ Mustipher will be out for the rest of the 2021 season. He did not give an update on the status of quarterback Sean Clifford but indicated he’s “doing everything he possibly can to get back as soon as he possibly can.”
The 6-foot-4, 325-pound Mustipher, the anchor of the Nittany Lions’ defensive line, suffered an apparent knee injury on the fifth play of the 23-20 loss at Iowa on Saturday.
Franklin does not comment on injuries, but he will say when a player has suffered one that is season-ending.
“I talked to PJ ahead of time,” Franklin said at his weekly post-practice availability. “I never want to make an announcement like that unless I talk to the player first. I think that’s the right thing to do. But PJ will be out for the year, for the season.”
Clifford was injured early in the second quarter Saturday after taking a big hit from Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. He went to the locker room later in the period for treatment and came out for the second half wearing a blue Penn State T-shirt.
Franklin described Clifford’s spirits as “good.”
“It’s part of the game, right?” he said. “Sean’s had [injury] issues in the past. He’s doing everything he possibly can to get back as soon as he possibly can and go from there. What he’s dealing with is not uncommon at the quarterback position.”
Franklin said redshirt sophomore Ta’Quan Roberson, who replaced Clifford in the second quarter Saturday, and freshman Christian Veilleux are splitting reps with the first team in practice. He said the two will compete to determine who the starting quarterback will be for Penn State’s next game, a home contest against Illinois on Oct. 23.
After Clifford was injured against Iowa, Roberson struggled playing for the first time with the game still in doubt, leading the Lions to only three points and completing only 7 of 21 passes.
Of Roberson, Franklin said having him enter a game “on the road in a hostile environment against the No. 3 team in the country is not how I would have drawn it up, but yeah, [he’s] good.”
“This week will be telling for both of them. We’ve only had two practices since then. Next week obviously will be important as well. We also have a practice tomorrow that those guys will be involved with.”