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Penn State Players Debate Following Michigan/Ohio State Game Result Prior To 3:30 Kick

by on November 20, 2016 1:56 AM

Probably safe to say nobody saw this coming a few short weeks ago.

But here Penn State sits, one win and a little help away from playing for a Big Ten title.

All it takes: a victory over Michigan State and an Ohio State win over Michigan. Both the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes are playing at home, both teams likely favored by a slim margin.

For Penn State though the entire situation is surrounded by a weird dynamic. Late on Saturday night -- or, rather, early Sunday morning -- it was announced that the Nittany Lions will host Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. The result: Penn State players will know the outcome of the first half of their Big Ten title equation. Michigan and Ohio State could very well be finishing up as Penn State and Michigan State begin.

So, do players want to know if they're playing for simply their 10th win of the year, or a shot at a Big Ten title? Stay off the Internet, or follow along in a social media world?

It depends who you ask.

Linebacker Jason Cabinda:

"We control what we can control, finish off strong this coming week, do everything we can in our power to be 1-0. We don't have classes so we have extra time to be watching film and working in the weight room and preparing as much as we can for Michigan State and that's what we're going to do."

Pressed harder....

"We're just going to worry about us man, that's all that matters."

Tight End Mike Gesicki:

"To be honest, probably not, we'll be out on the field preparing for the game and all that stuff."

Do you think you'd want to know what the score was when it was over? Would you want to know if you won that you'd be going to the Big Ten title game?

"Ummm.." he says with a smile. "Absolutely, but we've got plenty of reasons, we've got plenty of motivation and if it works out, it works out."

Quarterback Trace McSorley:

"It's hard to ignore, but I'd probably just not want to know. But how it's probably going to be it'll be hard not to find out. There's going to be some way that people are going to find out. I'll probably know but for me honestly I'd probably rather not know and come out and play the game and focus on what I need to do and not worry so much about external factors but I'll probably watch a little bit of it at the hotel or getting ready for our meetings."

Defensive End Evan Schwan:

"Honestly the result of that game isn't going to affect how I play, I want to win this game more than anything to get to 10 wins, something I've never done before in my college career. Even nine wins."

Linebacker Brandon Bell:

"Doesn't really matter, we just got to take care of our business against Michigan State and let the cards fall where they may."


Maybe those answers will change as the game draws closer. Maybe the tension of waiting will result in a few looks online before the game finally begins. Maybe Beaver Stadium's massive scoreboards will simply show the game. In any case, Penn State won't be going anywhere without a win over Michigan State on Saturday, so perhaps the tunnel vision that has gotten the Nittany Lions this far is the answer to one final test in the regular season.

But it's safe to say that those in attendance will know, and if the Buckeyes can pull off the much-needed victory, a Thanksgiving crowd will almost certainly be a little bit more juiced when the game finally begins.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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