3:13 - shotgun pass from the 45 yard line. Good pressure and looked like he's be sacked, but an excellent pump fake through the defensive end (who was concerned about a late hit penalty). Managed to buy himself an extra second to complete a screen pass left to the RB for a short gain.
2:47 - shotgun pass from the 46 yard line. Short pass to WR in space, who is able to turn up the field for a twenty-four yard gain.
2:14 - Clausen under center, hands off to the RB for a short rushing gain.
1:36 - shotgun pass from the 28 yard line. Clausen sacked looking downfield, didn't feel the presence and needed to get rid of the ball.
1:21 - shotgun pass from 36 on 3rd and 14. Pass thrown to the right, ball seemed to float out of Clausen's hands a bit. Wobbly pass but WR had created very good separation to make a 15 yard catch for the first down.
1:16 - shotgun pass from the 21 yard line. Clausen throws off his back foot deep left to the end zone to a receiver in single coverage. Nice spiral on the ball but lacked velocity and sailed out of bounds for an incompletion.
1:11 - shotgun pass from 21. Ball thrown to an open WR on the 10 yard line. Ball again floats a little which suggests a lack of arm strength when throwing off his back foot. Receiver makes a nice move to avoid a tackle and get to the four yard line for a 17 yard gain.
:48 - shotgun pass from the four yard line. Clausen throws off his front foot this time and generates a lot more force on the ball. Looks for a WR at the back of the end zone but too much on the pass and it shoots through the end zone.
:42 - Clausen hands off to the RB for a two yard gain from shotgun.
:36 - shotgun pass, great protection allowing Clausen an age to throw. The QB considers running it in but checks his run and instead throws a soft pass out of bounds.
:29 - 4th and goal with the game on the line. Clausen drops back receiving good protection. He throws a good, tight ball to a WR in single coverage who catches the ball in the end zone.
For starters, you have to credit Clausen for coming into the game at such a late stage, clearly not at 100% and leading his team to victory. It was a hostile atmosphere on the road and he showed some leadership to put the game on his own shoulders and drag ND over the finish line. You also have to credit that last play in a do-or-die situation. Clausen finished with a state line of 15/26 for 171 yards and a TD & Interception.
The reason I wanted to include some thoughts on Clausen are largely because his stock has risen dramatically in recent weeks. Walter Cherepinsky has the Notre Dame QB going first overall in his latest mock draft, published last week. It's only a small sample, but considering the consequences it's also a chance to see Clausen at his best.
It's the first real chance I've had to sit down and look at Clausen. As I've mentioned, I like his leadership and ability to get the job done in this game. It shows character and that's an under rated quality. He shows good agility to avoid pressure in the pocket, he keeps his eyes down field and he seems to be pretty accurate.
However, I don't much like his side arm action. He's listed as 6'3" according to ESPN but it's quite a low throwing action. It's a similar complaint to that which is thrown at Sam Bradford. He generates decent velocity on his passes when he throws on the front foot, but his passes get a bit floaty on the back foot. It's was also quite evident to me that Clausen was getting good protection for the most part, certainly as ND got into the red zone.
I would like to see more from Clausen but at this point I'd still rank Tony Pike (Cincinnati) as my number one ranked QB. I'd put Clausen alongside Sam Bradford as being bigger names with arguably bigger upside, but mechanical issues that could be a concern.