The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 12, 2013

College football: Nittany Lions look to avoid frustration


Daily Item

---- — By Tim Owen

For The Daily Item

STATE COLLEGE -- At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien admitted that he was particularly frustrated after Saturday's 24-10 loss at Minnesota. But he said his team responded with a good day of practice Monday, and the Nittany Lions will be looking to avoid that feeling this week.

"I was just frustrated because of how that game went," said O'Brien. "I just felt like our defense came out and played well, and we drove the ball. I'm just very frustrated when we don't score touchdowns. That was my frustration."

Although the Nittany Lions dropped to 5-4 (2-3 Big Ten), O'Brien added that his team is not discouraged. They showed up "ready to go" for their 2:45 p.m. meeting Monday and he specifically pointed out how freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who threw for 163 yards and a season-first zero touchdowns, had his best practice of the season. O'Brien added that his players' resiliency -- their ability to bounce back after a demoralizing loss -- is a reflection of their roots.

"It's just the way these kids are built, how they were brought up," O'Brien said. "It's Penn State. People question what is there to play for. There's a lot to play for."

Next up

Penn State hosts Purdue on Saturday for a noon kickoff, and if there was ever a team to rebound against, it's the Boilermakers.

They are 1-8 on the season and their only win came against Indiana State, a program from the Football Championship Series. In fact, over the past six weeks, Purdue has scored a total of only 21 points. That stretch includes two bye weeks, but it also includes shutout losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, the two best teams in the Big Ten.

That's the catch. While Purdue statistically is one of the worst Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country, it has also had the nation's hardest schedule, based on opponent winning percentage. So O'Brien said Penn State will not dwell on Purdue's record in preparation this week.

"We don't have any problem focusing on Purdue," he said. "We respect Purdue. I think Coach (Darrell) Hazell is an excellent football coach.

"Our guys are very focused on this game. With our guys it's never a matter of focusing on who the opponent is. It's not. It has nothing to do with records or anything else. It's about playing the best football we can play and trying to get better from the mistakes that we made last week."

Injuries

O'Brien announced that sophomore linebacker Ben Kline will miss the remainder of the season due to a tear of his pectoral muscle.

Penn State's leading receiver Allen Robinson also injured his shoulder against Minnesota, but O'Brien confirmed that Robinson is expected to play Saturday.