For Penn State, there’s a night-and-day difference in QB Sean Clifford when he’s healthy.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly has looked at 20 teams, including the Nittany Lions, that can become legit national title contenders in 2022. For all 20 teams, Connelly lists the “ifs” that would need to happen for each team to contend for the national title. Connelly’s article is ESPN+ subscriber content, but he tweeted some of his thoughts on Penn State.  The tweeted Penn State “ifs” focus on Sean Clifford and the run game.

As Connelly notes, Clifford was statistically a much different player before injury:

If… a healthy Sean Clifford is an awesome Sean Clifford. “Clifford is returning to State College for a sixth season, hoping to finish up on a better note than what last year’s injury-plagued campaign produced. Clifford had a top-10 Total QBR when he was injured against Iowa, but he was 85th from that point forward. PS’s offense followed suit. When healthy, he’s aggressive and effective with both his arm and legs.

Connelly’s other Penn State “ifs” not shown focus on the red zone offense and the need for a star defensive end to emerge.

James Franklin’s squad opens the season at Purdue on Sept. 1.