James Franklin and a handful of Nittany Lions stressed the importance of returning to their one-game-at-a-time mentality following Saturday’s 27-24 loss to Michigan State.
Franklin admitted that the outside noise surrounding Penn State’s lofty ranking and the possibility of reaching the College Football Playoff may have played a larger role in distracting his team than he thought.
No longer will the Nittany Lions stray from their formula.
“We’re going to get back to what got us here, which is focusing on being 1-0 and not worrying about anything else,” Franklin said. “I’m going to make sure everyone in our building is crystal clear on that.”
Trace McSorley said he and his teammates need to take a step back and refocus on what they can control heading into next Saturday’s Homecoming game versus Rutgers.
“You can’t just completely avoid it,” McSorley said of the hype. “We’ve gotta be a mature enough team to be able to handle that. Whatever it was, we needed more out of every single person.”
Saquon Barkley isn’t concerned with Penn State’s ability to get everyone on the same page moving forward.
“The way we’ll approach these final three games is with the mentality that coach Franklin sets for this program. The mindset is 1-0 and not worry about outside factors,” Barkley said. “We’ve gotta focus on ourselves…and get back to our standard, get back to our mentality.”
Senior defensive tackle Tyrell Chavis, who led the defense with 1.5 tackles for loss against the Spartans, echoed the sentiment that somewhere along the line Penn State got off track.
“As a team, we got away from what we do best, our nature, and what got us here. We’ve gotta play hard and stick it out, and we haven’t been doing that these past two weeks,” Chavis said.
After posting seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown, DaeSean Hamilton discussed the three-hour weather delay postgame and how the Spartans were able to turn things around.
“It seemed like they had a little edge to them and had a little chip on their shoulder. They wanted it a little bit more than we did,” Hamilton said.
While the big-picture goals are essentially off the table at this point, the Nittany Lions have certainly been in worse situations over the past few years. It’s not like this team is going 7-6 again.
“There’s been plenty of seasons, at least since I’ve been here, where we’re nowhere near playoff contention or national championship talk,” Hamilton said. “Really that stake is just guys playing with heart, with dignity, and putting ourselves in position for a good bowl game at the end of the year.”