UNIVERSITY PARK -- Statistics often lie. Just check Penn State's offensive numbers.
Some key stats would lead one to believe PSU has a pretty good offense. For instance:
* The Nittany Lions had 395 yards and 21 first downs against Iowa.
* They had 464 yards and 22 first downs against Indiana.
Those might be impressive numbers, but they are far less important than these figures: 13 and 16.
That's how many points PSU scored in its two Big Ten games, both of which ended up being nailbiters when they could and should have been comfortable wins for the Lions.
Penn State is next to last in the Big Ten in red zone offense and ranks 95th nationally, scoring only 11 TDs in 23 trips inside the 20.
"We can't pass up that many opportunities inside the 10 as we have done in the first few games," Joe Paterno said. "Our red zone has got to be better."
If it doesn't get better, JoePa added, "It'll hurt us, and we'll lose a ballgame we should win."
Costly penalties, turnovers and conservative playcalling all have played a role in PSU's red zone problems. Rotating two quarterbacks can't be helping the situation, although offensive lineman DeOn'tae Pannell contended that's not a reason for the red zone difficulties.
"No, not at all," he said. "It just comes down to execution and making mistakes."
The offense works on red zone plays every day in practice, Pannell said, and the players know they've been flirting with disaster by failing to find the end zone.
"We're definitely looking to improve on it or it's going to come back and bite us pretty soon," Pannell said.
Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno talked around a question about the red zone by saying the offense needs to do a better job helping its scoring chances from outside the 20.
"The more plays you run, the more chances you have to make a mistake," JayPa said. "I think one of the things that we've got to do, we've got to come up with that big play from the 30-yard line going in where we get an easy one.
"We've got to get one or two more explosive plays in there to make those drives, not 17 plays, but 10," he added.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't solve the problem of what the offense actually needs to do once it gets inside the 20.
Penn State has utilized the fade route on many occasions inside the 20 the past few years, and Daryll Clark in particular was good at that type of throw. Matt McGloin had some success throwing the fade last year, but Rob Bolden continues to struggle with any pass that requires the least bit of touch.
The Lions had failed to reach the end zone on nine consecutive trips inside the red zone until McGloin hit tight end Kevin Haplea from the 2 late in Saturday's win over Iowa. That scoring drive, though, was set up by 10 consecutive running plays, and PSU likely will not be able to just grind it out like that against better defenses later this season.
If the passing game doesn't become more dynamic and creative, the red zone issues will be a major problem in the big four games against Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
"We've spent a lot of time or are going to spend a lot of time this week on the red zone, try to get a package a little bit more compact as to what we want to do down there so that we can do it with a little bit more finesse and a little bit more confidence," Joe Paterno said. "But there's been a lot of reasons why we haven't done well, and we haven't done well down there."
SUBHD: Injury update
Paterno said he doubts cornerback D'Anton Lynn (concussion) will be able to play against Purdue, although safety Nick Sukay seemed to contradict that with a statement following the coach's press conference.
"He was really itching to play last week a whole lot," Sukay said. "So he'll be ready to go this week, I think. He did everything in practice [Monday], and he felt fine. So he'll be ready to go."
Paterno had said Lynn wasn't able to take part in contact drills Monday.
Cornerback Stephon Morris (ankle) sat out against Iowa but is expected to be back this week, Paterno said, while running back Brandon Beachum (foot) is doubtful.
SUBHD: Good impression
With Lynn out, true freshman Adrian Amos drew his first start against Iowa and did a solid job holding the Hawkeyes' top receiver, Marvin McNutt, to four catches.
"Even when we saw him in the summertime -- we would do drill six, as far as seven-on-sevens go -- and you could just tell him in his backpedal, real fluid and stuff like that, breaking on the ball well, having good awareness and everything," Sukay said. "So we knew that he was going to possibly be a contributor."
SUBHD: Still recognized
Defensive tackle Devon Still was added Tuesday to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive player. Still has been a major force on PSU's defense so far, leading the team and ranking second in the Big Ten with nine tackles for loss to go along with two sacks.
"He's playing lights out," defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "I don't see another defensive tackle right now playing at his intensity."
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and @CoryGiger on Twitter.