Penn State’s home game against Villanova was the perfect setup for a letdown performance. A week after celebrating a fun win over Auburn in primetime, the Nittany Lions returned to the field at Beaver Stadium for a noon kickoff against an FCS opponent, Villanova. And given the reaction to Penn State’s win over Auburn the previous week, head coach James Franklin says his players may have been basking in the glow a little too much heading into the Villanova game.
“I feel like our guys, a little bit, were enjoying people patting them on the back,” Franklin said in his postgame press conference after Penn State’s 38-17 victory over Villanova. “We talked about it all week long, and I don’t know if we had the same edge today that we’ve had the previous three weeks, but we found a way to win.”
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Franklin suspected his team may not be as locked into the game against the Wildcats as he had hoped. During his postgame press conference, Franklin mentioned he didn’t feel great about practices during the week leading up to the home game against Villanova.
“We did not practice the way I think we should practice on Wednesday,” Franklin said after the win. “We’ve had very little of that since I’ve been here. The other thing I would say is we haven’t really had a lot of that during camp, but I thought Wednesday we did not have a good practice, so I think they’re getting patted on the back. I think they are reading articles, and we’ll make sure that there’s no leftovers of that come Sunday. I’ll make sure that we clear all those things out of the fridge.”
With Villanova being the last non-conference opponent on the schedule for Penn State this season, every other game will now take place in Big Ten play. Penn State already has one conference win with a road win at Wisconsin back in Week 1, but there are plenty of obstacles about to fly Penn State’s way. First up will be Indiana, the team that set Penn State’s miserable 2020 season off the rails from the start. If that doesn’t refocus Penn State, then what will?
Penn State hosts Indiana on Oct. 2 for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on ABC.