No. 4 Penn State at No. 3 Iowa sets up as a day for defenses

Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher (97) tackles Indiana running back Stephen Carr (5) in the first half of their NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State starting defensive tackle PJ Mustipher is out for the season with an injury, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin confirmed following the team’s practice on Wednesday.

Mustipher was injured on the fifth play of Penn State’s game at Iowa last week. He remained on the sideline at Kinnick Stadium with his body supported by a pair of crutches.

“PJ is out for the year,” Franklin said. “I talked to PJ ahead of time. I never want to make an announcement like that without informing a player first.”

Mustipher, a team captain, logged six starts at defensive tackle this season and accumulated 21 total tackles, including 16 solo stops. He tallied a sack against Villanova in Week 4.

The 6-foot-4, 326-pound senior started nine games in 2020 and has collected 107 total tackles in his career – including 49 of the solo variety – to go with three sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass deflection.

The Nittany Lions turned to redshirt sophomore Dvon Ellies and redshirt freshman Coziah Izzard against the Hawkeyes.

Ellies at one point during the game was also injured, but he eventually returned to the lineup.

Ellies finished with one tackle, while Izzard recorded a quarterback hurry.

“I thought the guys who came in behind (PJ) did some good things,” Franklin said. “Obviously, PJ is an elite-level player, so they still have work to do. I thought, overall, those guys did some pretty good things.”

No update on Clifford

While Franklin shared news of Mustipher’s status for the season, he refrained from offering an update to the status of quarterback Sean Clifford.

Outside of season-ending injuries, Franklin doesn’t share the status of hurt players.

Clifford was injured during the first half against Iowa, and he watched the second half from the sideline as he donned a blue Penn State T-shirt instead of his shoulder pads.

“As you guys know, I don’t get into injuries, so I won’t get into that,” Franklin said.

Penn State backup quarterbacks Ta’Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux were on the practice field participating in throwing drills on Wednesday evening.

Clifford wasn’t visible during the brief weekly practice portion open to reporters.

“It’s part of the game,” Franklin said of Clifford’s injury.

“Sean’s had issues in the past.

“He’s doing everything he possibly can to get back as soon as he possibly can. What he’s dealing with is not uncommon at the quarterback position.”

Roberson, a redshirt sophomore, went 7 of 21 passing for 34 yards with two interceptions in relief duty for Clifford.

“We definitely have to build off of this and use this as fuel and keep getting better,” Roberson said after the Iowa loss.

As Penn State practices during its idle week, Franklin said his two other scholarship quarterbacks have rotated at the position.

“Ta’Quan and Veilleux have both been splitting reps so far in practice this week and have done well,” Franklin said, “but nothing has been decided.”

{em style=”color: #000000; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: #ffffff; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;”}Elton Hayes is a veteran sports writer who covers Penn State for CNHI LLC publications. Contact him at ehayes@cnhi.com or follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.

Elton Hayes is a veteran sports writer who covers Penn State for CNHI LLC publications. Contact him at ehayes@cnhi.com or follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.

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