ORLANDO, Fla. - Even with all that Daryll Clark has accomplished as Penn State's starting quarterback the last two seasons, there always seems to be that undercurrent of frustration from Nittany Nation that he hasn't done more.
The facts are these: Clark enters his final game in Friday's Capital One Bowl in possession of six school records, and he's close to establishing two more. He has led the Lions to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since Kerry Collins did it in 1993 and 1994.
But the Nittany Lions came up empty in the two most important games of the 2009 season - home-field losses to Iowa and Ohio State - keeping them out of a BCS bowl and national championship contention.
Clark was subjected to the type of criticism reserved for quarterbacks whose teams lose high-profile contests (see McNabb, Donovan). Though he has handled the flak well, some of his teammates have come to see the New Year's Day contest against Louisiana State as a way to cement Clark's legacy as one of Penn State's all-time bests at the position.
Clark feels uneasy about that idea.
"A lot has been said about me not being able to win the big game," Clark said during his team's appearance Sunday at DisneyQuest. "I'm not bothered by it but everyone has talked about it so much, it's to the point where guys want to 'win it for Daryll' so he can leave his mark on Penn State.
"That's not why we're down here. We're here to win as a team. Yes, we want to win and it would be a big win going into next season, especially against a high-quality opponent. But we're not here to seal my legacy."
The game against the 13th-ranked Tigers (9-3) is Penn State's last chance at defeating a top 25 team. Along with his teammates, Clark is pleased to have another opportunity at a ranked team and knows a win "would really mean a lot for this program, for the fans and for us."
Clark, co-winner of the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football given to the Big Ten's most valuable player, owns season records for passing yards (2,787), touchdown passes (23) and touchdowns responsible for (30) along with career marks for TDs passing (42), rushing (22), and responsible for (64).
He can add two more season records with 179 yards of total offense and 21 completions in the Capital One Bowl. His numbers going into the game are 2,978 total offense yards and 214 completions.
"I expected to be successful," said Clark, who is 21-4 as a starter. "But if I was to say I expected to have the numbers that I have now, I'd be lying. I really didn't know what was going to happen."
The next step after Friday for Clark, who moved out of Happy Valley before leaving for Florida, is trying to show NFL scouts that he is worthy of being a selection in April's pro draft. NFL draft sites predict him to be either drafted at the very end or signing as a free agent.
Whatever the case, Clark vows to give it his best shot.
"I'm definitely going to work hard for it," he said. "It's been an all-time dream. I feel like with everyone I've played with or played against that's made it, it becomes more and more a belief in yourself that you can make it as well. I feel like I've worked very hard and I've come a long way, and I can't stop now."
Before all that, there is a bowl to win, for the players leaving, for the players who will continue to be Nittany Lions, and for the fans. But, Clark insists, not for him.
"Being a quarterback, you have to be able to take the good with the bad and I feel like I've done both very well," he said. "I have no thoughts of losing or anything like that. We're down here with the expectation of winning the game."