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Clark, Williams help each other handle adversity

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

When Daryll Clark went through his text messages late Saturday night after Penn State's loss to Iowa, one jumped out at him.

It came from Illinois quarterback Juice Williams.

"He said, 'Call me when everything calms down, because I'm feeling how you're feeling right now,'" Clark recalled.

Williams had endured his own bout with adversity earlier in the day, as Illinois got shut out 30-0 at Ohio State. The two senior quarterbacks combined for one touchdown and five interceptions in their respective losses.

At around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Clark picked up the phone and called Williams. Penn State, by the way, plays its next game against Williams and the Fighting Illini this week in Champaign (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

Some might be surprised that Clark dialed up the "enemy" to discuss their shared problems, but Clark doesn't see it that way.

He and Williams are friends and became closer when they roomed together this summer at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in California. They often discussed facing Big Ten defenses and playing in certain stadiums, though many of their talks had nothing to do with football.

Plus, there are only a handful of players in the country who understand what it's like to lose a tough game as a veteran quarterback.

"That was really, really helpful," Clark said. "After the football game, a lot of things are in your head, like, what did you do wrong? Why'd this happen? Why did you throw it here? Why did you throw it there? He contacted me and let me know to keep my head up because he's been in situations like that before. He's been in tough losses like that before.

"He took it upon himself to let me know that as leaders, as quarterbacks of the football team, it's important that we have a short memory. Do what you have to do to forget about it. He said, 'You've got to keep on playing. You still have a lot to play for, and so do we.'"

Despite their upcoming game, Clark finds nothing strange about the late-night call.

"Off the field, we’re friends," Clark said. "I don’t see it as being awkward.”