Hull Staying Focused

Nittany Lion linebacker says the Penn State players are not getting wrapped up in BCS issues, but rather zeroing in on this week's trip to Iowa.

Texas Tech's ascent to No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings was a bucket of cold water to the face of Penn State football fans, many of whom are likely having flashbacks to the 1968, '69, '73 and '94 seasons in which the Nittany Lions ran the table yet didn't get to play for the national championship.

The likeliest route to the BCS title game in January would seem to be for No. 3 Penn State to defeat its final three opponents — perhaps by wide margins — and hope for the second-ranked Red Raiders and/or top-ranked Alabama to lose between now and the end of the regular season.

But if there's a case to be made that the Lions need to not only win but win big Saturday at Iowa, Josh Hull isn't buying it. Said the junior inside linebacker, “We're 9-0 right now, and we're just going to continue to play football as we have for the past nine games.”

Hull said players haven't been preoccupied with the polls even though fans and the media appear to be.

“That's something we can't pay attention to,” Hull said. “We have three games left and we can control the next three and that's what we're worried about.”

The first of those three games is at Iowa City, where the Lions haven't won since 1999. The Hawkeyes are in the midst of an up-and-down season, but they are 4-1 at home, and their four losses have been by a combined margin of 12 points. They've been particularly successful on the ground, averaging 189 rushing yards per game. Tailback Shonn Greene is the workhorse, with 1,257 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.

“Shonn Greene might be one of the best backs we've faced all year,” Hull said. “We're just preparing like we have for every other game. Stopping the run comes down to playing fundamental football — staying low and square and making a fundamentally sound tackle.”


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