Ready for a Test

Veteran receiver Butler says the Nittany Lions are prepared for a tight game, whenever it may come.

So, is it better to start the season off with a bang, with a run of lopsided, stat-enhancing romps? Or is it better to find out early just how unflappable you are by playing at least one competitive game that tests your nerves?

As far as Deon Butler is concerned, the answer to that question is simple: yes.

“I don't think you can go wrong with either one,” the senior receiver said.

As the Lions prepare to face Temple on Saturday in their final nonconference game of the season, Butler does not sound particularly worried that the team stands a good chance of going into the Big Ten season without having had its mettle tested by a tough opponent.

Butler figures the Lions already know how to handle adversity, even though they haven't faced any such thing in pummeling their first three foes by a combined score of 166-37. Should they run into trouble against a Temple squad that Joe Paterno on Tuesday called “the best team we've played so far this year” or in their Big Ten opener against Illinois next week, Butler doesn't think his teammates will lose their heads.

“We have enough seniors on the team it shouldn't be anything new to us,” he said.

Penn State's success in putting games away before halftime has led to a lot of substitutions, which in turn has kept the starters' legs fresh, Butler added. That's probably bad news for Temple, and it might be bad news for Illinois, too, if the Lions manage to defeat the Owls by double digits for the 14th consecutive time. As Paterno noted, “It's a luxury if you can give people a break and have them ready.”

Butler didn't get much of a break last week in the first half against Syracuse. He caught seven passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Penn State's 55-13 rout. Then he spent the entire second half on the sideline.

Butler said that while some people might have been surprised by the Lions' scoring binge in their first three games, players were not.

“We expected to put up points,” he said. “I don't think we could have predicted the scores, but we thought we could dominate the first part of the schedule and get rolling.”

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