UNIVERSITY PARK -- Penn State's next opponent, Indiana, just lost to something called North Texas, which sounds like a 1970s Nick Nolte movie.
Oh wait, that was "North Dallas Forty." Which is an entertaining film, by the way, and surely depicts football better than Indiana, the Big Ten's worst program.
Why would the Hoosiers have to suffer the embarrassment of playing a road game at a bottom-feeding Sun Belt Conference school? Then getting shut out for three quarters before losing, 24-21, well, that's utterly humiliating.
But we are talking about Indiana, which has gone 1-7 in the Big Ten each of the past three years and seven of the past nine.
Basically, any group of Penn State players that shows up would beat the Hoosiers, who are 17-point underdogs, and move the Nittany Lions to 4-1.
After PSU improves to 15-0 all-time against Indiana, however, there's no telling how the rest of the season will play out.
How the Hoosiers have fared since 2000:
Saturday's unfortunate injuries to defensive standouts Michael Mauti and D'Anton Lynn further clouded the picture.
Discussing the injuries, Penn State tackle Devon Still didn't take the easy way out with a politically correct answer such as, "We'll be OK" or, "Everything will be just fine."
Instead, Still gave a candid, honest response when asked if he's concerned about a repeat of last season, when the defense fell apart after numerous injuries.
"To be completely honest with you, I am kind of nervous losing them type of players," Still said.
"I don't know how we can replace what those two brought to this defense and to this team," Still later added. "But somehow, some way we're just going to have to get it done."
Penn State confirmed Sunday that Mauti will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee against Eastern Michigan. The junior linebacker will undergo surgery within two weeks and rehab for a minimum of nine months, according to a university statement.
Lynn had his head, neck and spinal column examined after a scary injury that resulted in him being placed on a stretcher and carted off the field. The senior cornerback was released from the hospital Saturday evening and will continue to be evaluated by the PSU medical staff, but it's unclear when he'll be able to return from his stinger injury.
The Lions' season was always going to hinge upon when or if the offense could solve its numerous problems, but a having a strong defense meant the team would at least be able to stay competitive. Penn State is No. 8 in the nation in total defense and No. 10 in scoring defense through four weeks.
Whether PSU can hold its own defensively against better competition will depend on how quickly Lynn returns and if the team can avoid further injuries.
"You play defense, your success is based off of people that you're playing with," Still said. "Mauti attracted a lot of attention, which allows defensive linemen to get off blocks and get big plays. D'Anton was a great cover corner, was allowing us to get to the quarterback.
"Now that we lost them, we kind of lose that dimension with our defense."
Mauti, who missed the 2009 season with a right ACL injury, was the team's best linebacker, but the Lions are fortunate to have a lot of depth in that unit.
Senior Nate Stupar now gets his last opportunity to emerge as a consistent, reliable force at linebacker, something he's been unable to do throughout his career. If Stupar can't get the job done, sophomore Khairi Fortt could be moved from his backup middle linebacker spot to the outside.
"One of the things at linebacker we have done, guys have played different positions," defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. "We'll just have to adjust from there, and Nate's going to have to step up and take on that role [from Mauti]."
Losing Lynn for an extended period could be an even bigger blow to the defense given the dropoff in abilities and experience at cornerback.
Senior Chaz Powell, who's nursing a shoulder injury, and junior Stephon Morris both have starting experience but have proven to be inconsistent. Redshirt sophomore Mike Wallace is listed as Lynn's backup at left corner, and look for true freshman Adrian Amos to challenge for playing time, as well.
"Amos is going to be a good football player for us," defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said.
If Lynn can get back in a hurry and the defense doesn't suffer further injuries, there's every reason to believe the Lions can continue to shut down opponents.
"I think we're in pretty good shape right now," defensive line coach Larry Johnson said.
But if Lynn remains out for a while and any other key performers go down, things could spiral out of control as they did a year ago, when the defense looked nothing at all like a typical PSU product.
Still said the focus now will be on making sure all the defensive players understand they will have to pick up the slack.
"There's no room to make those mistakes you were making in previous games because we don't have those type of players that can make up for it," Still said. "Everything now has to be as close to perfect as we can get it."
Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @CoryGiger on Twitter.