But Penn State put all the distractions aside and scored early and often in its 45-14 win over Oregon State on Saturday at Beaver Stadium, improving to 2-0 on the year before a crowd of 108,159.
"Our focus is not what's going on around us, but it's us winning each game," left tackle Gerald Cadogan said.
It was a theme echoed by many Nittany Lions -- they could only focus and worry about the players on the field.
Already thin on the defensive line with the indefinite suspensions of Evans and Koroma, Penn State took another hit Saturday.
Jerome Hayes, who started in place of Evans, was helped off the field in the fourth quarter after suffering a torn left ACL while on punt coverage. Hayes missed part of last season after suffering a torn ACL on his right knee, also on a special teams play. Head coach Joe Paterno said he believes Hayes is out for the rest of this season.
"I feel really bad for him," safety Mark Rubin said.
Like last week's against Coastal Carolina, Penn State ran the ball with ease through a porous Beaver defense.
Evan Royster scored three touchdowns and was on the way for his fourth before fumbling on the goal line in the third quarter. Royster became the first Penn State running back under Joe Paterno to rush for six touchdowns in the Nittany Lions. first two games of a season. He finished with 141 yards, reaching the 100-yard mark just three minutes into the second quarter.
"We saw what Stanford did last week and they really had a lot of success running the ball," Royster said. "Coach Paterno just said we want to come out and pound the ball at them. That's what we did and it really worked out."
It was a well-balanced offensive attack that saw Penn State put up 35 points by halftime. Daryll Clark threw two touchdowns and rushed for another.
On Clark's running score, he dragged multiple Beaver defenders with him as he crossed the goal line, paying a decent price for the result.
"It was pretty tough but I saw that goal line," Clark said. "I was like, 'you know what, push, push and get this touchdown.' The hit that I had on my forearm was about, I don't really know, it was close to the goal line. I just fought through. I really didn't feel it until I came back to the sideline."
Clark was not concerned about the hit to his forearm. He said it didn't affect his throwing and that it was nothing that "a little ice couldn't fix."
Defensively, Penn State was able to contain Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao and wide receiver Sammie Stroughter. Moevao finished 25 of 41 for 251 yards and a pair of interceptions while Stroughter was held to just four catches for 56 yards.
"They did play well, they came prepared," said Rubin, who had one of the two PSU interceptions when he made a diving catch in the fourth quarter. "It is tough coming from the West Coast out to the East Coast, it's a big-time difference.
"But they play hard, I mean, there really was no secret, we really stuck to our base defense. We stayed focused, we knew it was going to be a good challenge, we were excited for the challenge and we came out hitting."