Defense struggles without Mauti
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Penn State lined up and got punched in the mouth by Ohio State, which ran over and through the Lions on Saturday.
The offensive struggles in the second half will be blamed by many people for why PSU lost. But a meltdown by the defense had as much or more to do with it.
The Buckeyes ran for 314 yards on 43 carries (7.3 per attempt) and had 225 in the second half. It's almost impossible to beat any team with those kinds of number.
"They were starting inside and then bouncing everything outside," linebacker Chris Colasanti said. "We just weren't filling the edge and containing the ball. We were letting them get outside of us and run for a big chunk of yards."
Dan "Boom" Herron did just that with 190 yards on only 21 carries. It's the second time in three weeks an opposing rusher has gone for at least 190 yards against PSU - with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson gaining 191.
The Lions weren't at full strength and may not be for a while as linebacker Michael Mauti aggravated a left shoulder injury and missed all but a couple of plays in the second half. He's had problems with it for a while and may have suffered a separation.
"That hurt," Joe Paterno said. "Mauti's been playing really well. In fact, he tried to go, even though that shoulder had been thrown out of place. I said to him at halftime, 'Can you go?' And the doc said he's gonna try. He tried, but he was a different player the second half."
There was a scary situation in the third quarter when Stephfon Green was hurt during a kickoff return. Green lay still on the ground for a couple of minutes - he did move his feet and arms - before eventually standing up. He sat down in a cart, was taken off the field and was walking around on the sideline later on.
"He got his head bounced around," Paterno said. "I was scared to death. I said, 'God, deja vu.' But I think he's gonna be all right."
The deja vu was in reference to Adam Taliaferro suffering a spinal injury at Ohio State 10 years ago. Taliaferro, by the way, was on hand for the game.
Tailback Evan Royster suffered a left knee injury, got it wrapped and was able to come back in the game. Royster said he "pinched a fat panel" in his knee when someone landed on his leg after a play.
"It's not bad," he said. "It just hurts a little bit when I straighten it. It's happened to me before, actually."
How will Lions bounce back?
It helps that Indiana is the opponent next week. The Hoosiers were humiliated Saturday by Wisconsin, 83-20.
That game will give the Lions an opportunity to regroup quickly and build confidence.
"We can't hang our heads," receiver Brett Brackett said. "We've got two games left to play, and we've got to learn from our mistakes."
"We're fine," safety Drew Astorino said. "It's disappointing; obviously we're pretty upset about it. But we're fine. We're just gonna go to the next game and play it."
The Lions appeared to be in trouble when they were 3-3 and coming off a bad loss to Illinois. But they regrouped and won three in a row, so they know how to handle this kind of disappointment.
"I think you forget about it," guard Stefen Wisniewski said. "Try your best to forget about it, move on, win the last two. I'm gonna try to get my mind off it. It's gonna be hard, though."
McGloin, Herbie ham it up
Matt McGloin and ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit had some fun bantering on Saturday morning's "College GameDay" program.
Herbstreit visited PSU on Tuesday to interview McGloin, and when they met, Herbstreit said, "Are we friends?"
"Uh, we'll see after this," McGloin said. "We'll see. We'll see."
Herbstreit called out McGloin before the Michigan game two weeks ago, saying he was "gonna be in big trouble." McGloin played well, and after the game he fired back.
"A lot of people have been doubting me, especially Kirk Herbstreit this morning. I'm gunning for him." McGloin said on TV.
The two watched the video of that together, and afterward, Herbstreit stood up with a big laugh and said, "What did I say?"
"I wanted to throw a shot back," McGloin said.
It was a funny segment, and McGloin later said with a smile, "You want to keep picking against us, as long as it's producing wins for the Penn State football program, it's all good for me."
Several members of McGloin's family were watching the segment on TV in the team hotel, including his cousin from Scranton, Jennifer Herman.
She was asked about McGloin talking smack and said, "He has always done it, and he does it to pump everybody else up and to get everybody into it. And it seems to be working, so keep going with it."
The 14 points are the most PSU has scored in a game at Ohio State since joining the Big Ten.
McGloin's TD pass to Brown was PSU's first at Ohio State since 1963, when Pete Liske connected with Bill Bowes. The Lions had gone 45 quarters without a scoring strike on the road against the Buckeyes.
(Compiled by Cory Giger)