There was a time not long ago when Penn State would have come out and flirted with a loss to Indiana - heck, maybe even succumbed to one. That time was known as pretty much every year under James Franklin in the week after a loss to Ohio State.
In years past, the Lions would get up for their annual game against OSU, come up short, and let that emotional drain carry over to the following week, turning an unfortunate loss into a season-ending skid.
Not so this past Saturday.
Instead, following their annual heartbreak against OSU, the Lions went out and manhandled a lesser team, 45-14. That change has been missing the last 5 years or so, and has been sorely needed.
I’ll pump the brakes on saying Penn State is over any major hump - they’re still looking up at both the Buckeyes and the Wolverines right now, so calling for playoff appearances will have to wait - but they’re certainly trending in the right direction.
There will always be tough games on the schedule - that comes with playing in a Power 5 conference. But if the Lions ever do want to get to that next level, they need to routinely take care of these sorts of let down games. Use their overwhelming talent disparity to put teams away early. Don’t let one loss snowball on you.
Will Penn State ever truly get over the hump and make it to the playoffs? Who knows. But if they do, you may want to remember this past Saturday, the fifth of November, as the turning point.