Maybin & Company Looking Ahead

Even in a bye week, Penn State's sack-happy defensive end is sizing up the stretch run, especially upcoming opponent Iowa.

The Penn State football team may have a bye this week, but don't get the idea that players are lounging around.

“We're still game-planning,” sophomore defensive end Aaron Maybin said. “The bye week is definitely not a week off. It's a week where you get a little bit of extra rest, you don't have to worry about going out on Saturday and playing a ballgame where you're going to be wearing down your body for 60 minutes. But practice is definitely going to be intense this week. It's going to be a big week because we have to prepare ourselves for several very good football teams.”

Maybin said the third-ranked Nittany Lions “didn't spend much time celebrating” after edging Ohio State, 13-6, to remain in contention for the Bowl Championship Series title game. He said that after reveling in the satisfaction of a rare triumph in Columbus, players quickly turned their attention to the team's final three games.

Penn State's final stretch drive begins Nov. 8 in Iowa City with a game against the resurgent Hawkeyes. After that, the Lions return home to close out the regular season against Indiana and Michigan State.

“We have to get ready for a great team in Iowa,” Maybin said. “We've got to take advantage of this week to kind of rest ourselves and prepare for the final stretch, which is going to be a tough one.”

Even if they win all three games, the Lions will need either Texas or Alabama to lose in order to get a title shot. So there will be a lot of scoreboard watching going on as this year's squad looks to avoid becoming the fifth Joe Paterno-coached team to finish unbeaten and uncrowned.

Maybin, whose 11 sacks lead the Big Ten and are second in the country, said he would likely watch some football this weekend, but he's less focused on the Crimson Tide and Longhorns than on the parts of the national championship race that are within Penn State's control.

“As far as hoping certain teams win or lose, we have no control over that,” he said. “All we have control over is how we play and how much we prepare ourselves to take care of business. We feel that as long as we take care of business and do what we have to do, when all is said and done, we'll be where we need to be.”

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