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‘It’s Just Another Game’: Penn State Football Unfazed Heading Into Ohio State Matchup

As James Franklin strolled down the field toward reporters at Holuba Hall Wednesday evening, the first thing he did before taking questions was briefly converse with a reporter about baseball.

Ahead of the biggest matchup of the season so far, Franklin appeared as calm as ever, which is a good way to go about the week leading up to noon on Saturday.

Playing Ohio State, whether it’s here, there, or anywhere — is a tall task. The Buckeyes are deservedly the No. 3-ranked team in America right now, and winning Saturday’s game at the Shoe will be as tall of a mountain to climb as the flagpole that stands behind its north end zone.

However, the team seems confident and ready for the game even with acknowledging the obvious fact that it’ll take a massive effort to come away with the victory. Nobody, though, is preparing any differently.

“It’s a big game, but to us, it’s just another game,” defensive end Chop Robinson said in a calm and matter-of-fact manner. “We don’t have to do more than what we did these past six weeks.”

“We just gotta be ready,” linebacker Curtis Jacobs echoed. “We’re going to prepare for this game like it’s any other game.”

Penn State enters the matchup ranked No. 7 and carries a 6-0 record. The defense’s spectacular play has been among the primary storylines the whole season, as it is ranked the best overall defense in America. The Nittany Lions have proven to be a confident bunch because they play like it, plain and simple. So, why would it be any different heading into Saturday?

Robinson acknowledged that the stakes are high, but Franklin and other players have said the same thing while simply appearing calm and confident. It’s a sign of a good mindset when teams understand the strength of the opponent, yet seem so poised.

And, that’s exactly how it should be. The alarm bells don’t need to be sounded just because it’s the big, bad Buckeyes. For what it’s worth, the Buckeyes have looked vulnerable at times despite being ranked so high. If Penn State sticks to its game, however, it should be enough to secure a potential upset.

The Nittany Lions’ front seven is menacing, as it includes players such as Adisa Isaac and Abdul Carter in addition to Robinson and Jacobs. It has the ability to overwhelm an offensive line and quickly blow up a play, and it’s reasonable to believe that will happen in Columbus this weekend.

However, Robinson believes he and his team are ready for anything to happen against an Ohio State offense that’s proven to have the ability to rip a few explosive plays.

“We’re well-prepared,” he said. “We’re prepared for every situation.”

This is just one of the many good reasons to believe that this year, it truly is different. Based on everything that’s been seen so far, the mentality reflects that of a battle-tested group that’s hungry for the challenge of playing against one of the other top teams in the game at its stadium.

“We’re just excited and ready for Saturday,” Robinson said.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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