Focusing on the Little Things

Senior cornerback Lydell Sargeant thinks the PSU pass defense will be fine if it tightens up on some small mistakes that were made against Iowa.

After giving up just 22 passing yards in the first half last week against Iowa, Penn State surrendered 149 in the second. The Hawkeyes' success throwing the ball was one of the big reasons for their comeback victory.

Is that cause for concern heading into Saturday's game against Indiana? Not necessarily. Corneback Lydell Sargeant said the Lions' problems last Saturday stemmed from a series of small breakdowns that the Hawkeyes were able to exploit.

“There weren't really big mistakes,” the senior said. “There were a couple of coverage mistakes, a couple of plays we could have made. … These are things that can be fixed. We looked at [the films] on Monday and are looking forward to putting them in the past.”

Also working in the Lions' favor Saturday is the fact that Indiana's quarterback situation is unsettled to say the least. Kellen Lewis has been bothered by a high ankle sprain and played sparingly in the Hoosiers' 55-20 loss to Wisconsin last week. His backup, Ben Chappell, suffered a head injury against the Badgers, forcing coach Bill Lynch to call on third-stringer Mitchell Evans, even though Evans was bothered by a sciatic nerve injury. All told, Indiana used four quarterbacks in the loss. “It's been one of those kinds of years,” Lynch said.

Lewis was reportedly moving around OK on Monday, but Lynch stopped short of saying he would start. The Hoosiers are hopeful that all three of their top quarterbacks will be healthy enough to play if needed.

Penn State's wounds, by contrast, are mostly psychological. But Sargeant said he and his teammates have moved on after their loss to Iowa and are prepared to play their best against Indiana. He said this year's seniors learned from their predecessors on the 2005 team. The Nittany Lions lost in Week 7 to Michigan that year, but bounced back with double-digit victories in their final four regular-season games.

“A lot of us actually played as freshmen on that 2005 team,” Sargeant said. “We saw how the guys got the troops back together and how they really let that game go and put it in the past and got ready for the rest of their games. I think it was good for us to see that. We have the same type of leadership and experience to help everybody move on.”


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