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October 7, 2013Penn State entered its Big Ten opener looking to make a statement, but the Nittany Lions made the wrong kind, falling 44-24 to Indiana as the Hoosiers earned their first win over PSU in 17 career meetings.
"We lost to a team that played very well today. We didn't coach well, and our kids, because of that, didn't play very well," Penn State second-year boss Bill O'Brien said.
"I don't think, in any stretch of anybody's imagination, that this is a normal Penn State team. 61 kids on scholarship and 40 walk-ons but you know what, these kids are practicing hard. We've got to coach them better. We've got to put them in better positions. We've got good players, and that's what we're going to try to do."
The Nittany Lions held a temporary 14-13 lead early in the third quarter but then surrendered 29 of the next 32 points as IU racked up 486 yards of total offense, including 336 through the air.
"When it got to 35-17, I felt like we were in trouble there, but we kept playing," O'Brien said.
"It starts with me. I have to do a much better job of coaching; putting these guys in better positions to make plays on both sides of the ball and on special teams.
"We have a bunch of resilient kids in that room. We didn't play well, didn't coach well, and we have a long way to go."
What many were expecting to be a solid season for Penn State, after PSU went 8-4 in 2012, now includes bad losses to Central Florida and Indiana, and with Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Nebraska on the docket, this could be a tough year for the Blue and White.
O'Brien and this program have survived worse and won't concede, knowing the Nittany Lions can right the ship with an upset win over Michigan in State College.
"When you look at this team, we can't go to a bowl, we can't play for championships, but we have a lot of resilient kids here," O'Brien said. "They show up to practice every day and practice hard. So I think that reserve is still there."