Huge point spread motivates Penn State
College Football Videos
The talk of the Penn State locker room has shifted from the identity of the starting quarterback to a perceived national insult that running back Evan Royster said could motivate the team as it prepares to meet Ohio State on Saturday.
Coach Joe Paterno quickly eliminated the suspense and guessing games that marked the past two weeks, revealing Tuesday that Matt McGloin will make his second start of the season when the Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to play the Buckeyes.
Now, the issue is a lack of respect for Penn State, which is a 17 1⁄2-point underdog against the Buckeyes (8-1, 4-1), ranked seventh, eighth and ninth in the USA Today, Associated Press and BCS rankings, respectively.
When asked about the huge point spread, Royster made his feelings clear.
"We were talking about that (Monday)," Royster said. "It is kind of insulting. We have proven we can put points on the board and can win games.
"A lot of people will take offense to it, and it makes us work harder."
Penn State (6-3, 3-2) has scored 109 points during its current three-game winning streak against Big Ten rivals Minnesota, Michigan and Northwestern. In that time, McGloin, a former walk-on, has thrown seven touchdown passes after former starter Rob Bolden had only five in seven starts from the beginning of the season.
Paterno is pleased to see improvement — and a little moxie — from his team, which was knocked around by Alabama, Iowa and Illinois earlier this season. But he said locker room conversation will mean nothing Saturday in Ohio Stadium, where the Buckeyes are 57-5 since 2002.
"Talk isn't going to do anything," he said. "We have to play better than we have played all year. We have not done a good job on the road. Alabama was all over us. Iowa was all over us.
"We are trying to get better, and the team is trying to get better. I am pleased that they think they are, and they think they are going to be competitive against Ohio State.
"But we have to play the best game, by far, that we have played all year, just to be in it, or we will come home with our tails dragging. Ohio State is a little bit too good for just about everybody.
"You like to have kids talk with some confidence, but false confidence isn't going to do it."
The problem for Penn State will be solving the Buckeyes' defense, which is ranked third in the nation (behind TCU and Boise State) and allows an average of 234.2 yards per game.
Penn State's only edge may be the confidence gained since the team slipped to 3-3 after a 33-13 loss to Illinois on Oct. 9.
"We don't look at Ohio State as being any better than us," said Royster, who rushed for 346 yards in the past three games after totaling 388 in the previous six. "If we make the correct adjustments we can take advantage (of their blitzes), because sometimes they can run themselves out of the play and create some big gashes for us."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Virginia whips San Diego State to claim Las Vegas Invitational title
- Manorville man shares love for fishing
- Woman hosts annual sale for artists in her Valley Township home
- Roundup: Power companies suspend appliance recycling program; Celery blend used by Costco tests positive for E. Coli; more
- Republicans roll dice as Trump headlines Pennsylvania Society event
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Black Friday chaos dwindles thanks to earlier deals, online sales
- Watchdog counts $1 billion wasted in Afghanistan