Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Letdown on Their Minds Nittany Lions Try to Avoid Upset Loss after Upset Victory

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Letdown on Their Minds Nittany Lions Try to Avoid Upset Loss after Upset Victory

Article excerpt

Taking it one game at a time. Trying go 1-0 this week. Any team could win on any given day. It's the most important game because it's the next game.

Or as junior linebacker Jason Cabinda put it: "Cliche. No doubt about it."

As overplayed as those mantras are, Penn State's players and coaches have pushed that narrative all week heading into a Big Ten Conference game today at Purdue. Because while No. 24 Penn State (5-2, 3-1) is the heavy favorite against the Boilermakers (3-4, 1-3), the Nittany Lions only have to look at last week to see how quickly an easy win can turn into an upset loss - or just another loss, for another cliche.

Penn State was on the fortunate side of a big comeback win against then-No. 2 and unbeaten Ohio State a week ago. But the celebrations didn't last long.

"We're just worried about one more game, and that's Purdue this week and trying to keep our focus right on those guys," cornerbacks coach Terry Smith said. "Because if we turn around and lay an egg against Purdue, then what good is that victory last weekend?"

The letdown might be hard to avoid, at least from an atmosphere perspective. Penn State is coming off a massive 107,280-strong whiteout crowd in a prime-time game against a top-two team. Now the Nittany Lions will face a struggling Purdue team - in its first home game after a coaching change two weeks ago - in the harsh light of day in a stadium that averages 36,747 fans.

But Penn State prepared for Purdue the same way as for Ohio State, so sophomore running back Saquon Barkley said in yet another cliche. Well, except for one fairly important deviation.

"We're kind of taking a different approach to practice with having no music and creating our own juice so we can try to start fast on the road," Barkley said. "Because I think the last time we won on the road was Maryland last year, and our two losses this year so far have been on the road. So try to create our own juice because we don't have that static and that energy from Beaver Stadium. …

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