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Penn State Football: O'Brien Understands Magnitude of Ohio State Week

by on October 23, 2012 1:14 PM

Bill O’Brien knows the magnitude of Saturday’s showdown against Ohio State.

He won’t try telling you otherwise.

“This is a big game,” O’Brien said. “For me to sit up here and say it’s not a big game, that’s crazy.”

The unbeaten Buckeyes travel to Beaver Stadium for the 5:30 p.m. kick Saturday in a battle of the top two teams in the Big Ten Leaders Division. Both teams are not eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship because of NCAA sanctions.

Unlike Ohio State, Penn State’s sanctions last beyond 2012, and there’s a lot of talk about this game providing a spring board into the offseason and showing that the program is not completely dead.

“At the end of the day, recruiting is about the fit, what’s the fit?” O’Brien said. “It’s not all about winning the game and that’s how you’re gonna beat them in recruiting. To me, that’s not what it’s about.”

Birthday Coach

O’Brien turned 43 years old Tuesday, but he doesn’t have many plans.

“I’m not a big birthday guy,” O’Brien said. “My wife will list all the things I really don’t enjoy: birthdays, weddings, theme parks, the beach. My older brother texted me this morning, he said, ‘Happy Birthday.’ That’s when I figured it was my birthday.”

Nyeem Wartman Will Play if Needed

O’Brien said freshman linebacker Nyeem Wartman will play Saturday if he’s needed. Wartman was not listed on this week’s injury report for the first time since spraining his knee Sept. 8 at Virginia.

Wartman can still petition the NCAA for a medical redshirt.

“He’s gonna be a really, really good player for us,” O’Brien said.

More later.

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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