Daryll Clark by the numbers

I don't mean to take away from the other posts about his legacy and all, but I felt this was just a bit too much to fit into the comments.  Everyone is talking about Clark and his records and saying that they're still not as good as some of the other "greats" for various reasons (notably Collins and Blackledge, I think arguably the 2 best passing QBs in PSU history...if you'd like this analysis to include other QBs let me know who should be in there).

One of those reasons is the scheme, and I can't really do anything to account for that, as the system was indeed different, but so were the quality of players around them, quality of opponent, and a slew of other factors that make comparing individual players even in the same era near impossible, let alone players from different decades..

Because of that, I am only going to focus on the numbers, and only the passing numbers specifically (which is actually a disadvantage for Clark, as this removes numerous TDs accounted for in the running game, but perhaps this is a fair way to account for the different systems, i.e. remove the huge influence and stats from the running game as a penalty or whatever...).  I am also, again, only going to compare Clark, Collins, and Blackledge.

One point of contention could be made that Clark plays in an era where the regular season is 12, while Collins and Blackledge played with a regular season of 11 games, but I think this is more than accounted for by Clark only having 2 meaningful seasons (I arbitrarily defined this as at least 100 pass attempts), while Collins had 3 such seasons, and Blackledge had 4 such seasons.

This also goes to perhaps somewhat balance the "Clark had way more attempts" argument, which would factor into his single season records, but not his career records.  I also look at yards per attempt (YPA) in order to look at who would have the single season yardage records.  I included a similar category called TD/ATT for similar reasons.  All data was pulled from


So over his career Clark had about 80 more attempts than either Blackledge or Collins, giving him the boost to career yard stats.  He also had about 60-100 more attempts per year than Collins or Blackledge ever did, giving him a huge boost to the yearly records, however of the 3 players listed, both of Clark's YPA is better than all but 1, and that's Collin's crazy 10.1 YPA in 1994.  Given the same number of attempts, and assuming he keeps up the ratio, Collins would have the single season record.  Collin's career YPA mark is also slightly higher than Clarks (who is higher than Blackledge), so again, given the same # of attempts over the career, the order would be Collins > Clark > Blackledge.

Looking at TD's per Attempt, the order goes Blackledge > Collins > Clark, but the numbers are so close as to be about even for all 3 QBs with a difference of only about 8% in the ratio between Blackledge and Clark.  Clark, however, had a HUGE advantage in TD/INT, throwing 2.7 TDs for every INT compared to Collins' 1.9, and Blackledges 1 TD for every INT.  These, of course, don't even account for the rushing TDs that Clark scored.

So take from this what you will.  It is clear that Collins' 1994 campaign was by far the best out of all 3 of these QB's careers.  Blackledge obviously had a very good campaign in 1982, but Clark's 2 seasons were both better than Blackledge's best season as far as YPA goes, while falling short on the TD/ATT.  Both of Clark's seasons were better than any of Collins' or Blackledges next best seasons, however, in regards to both stats, and actually better than all of Blackledge's seasons in regards to YPA.

So yes, if adjusted for attempts, Clark wouldn't have the passing TD (Blackledge would have 46 with the same attempts, Collins would have 44) or passing yards (Collins would have 5958 with the same attempts) records, though he would have the completions records (based on completion %), and he would likely fall third on the TD list (not accounting for rushing TDs), and second on yardage list, all while playing fewer games.  He also has far fewer interceptions despite having so many more attempts.  This again doesn't account for other players, either, but I think these would still be the top 3.

As I said earlier, I can't account for differences in eras, schemes, opponents, quality of players around them, but looking at the numbers it is hard to say that Clark doesn't deserve at least some of the recognition.

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