Surprisingly, building program to last at PSU

Associated Press Published: October 24, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What's brewing with the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes ...

BUCKEYES BUZZ: C'mon, admit it: After Penn State lost its first two games you thought the Nittany Lions might not win at all.

Yet coach Bill O'Brien's first PSU team has won five in a row. The Nittany Lions, with the world watching after the sanctions that followed Jerry Sandusky's atrocities in State College, Pa., lost its opener at home to Ohio's Bobcats, 24-14.

A week later, PK Sam Ficken missed field goals of 40, 38, 20 and 42 yards and Penn State lost at Virginia, 17-16.

Most people thought the Nittany Lions were primed for an 0-12 season. Boy, were they wrong.

In short order, they've beaten Navy 34-7, Temple 24-13, Illinois 35-7, Northwestern 39-28 and Iowa 38-14.

Suddenly, the Lions are getting votes in the national polls.

Who would have thought it possible?

Now O'Brien is considered a viable candidate for national and Big Ten coach of the year.

He was asked this week if he can continue to pull the rabbit out of his hat even though Penn State faces a stiff series of bowl bans, scholarship limitations and other sanctions.

"I feel like this is a very special place to play football and go to school. It's a phenomenal education. It's a great place to play football in front of 100,000 fans on national TV," O'Brien said. "Scholarship limitations aren't going to be easy to deal with but we're going to aim to go out there every single day and compete and win games. That's what our job is to do and that's what we're going to try to do."

BRAXTON'S HEALTH: QB Braxton Miller worked out with the team in Wednesday's practice although, as is usually the case, he was not subjected to contact.

Coach Urban Meyer said Miller was sore but has not shown any signs of a concussion or a more serious injury. So, unless there's a setback, he should be available for Saturday's 5:30 p.m. kickoff in Beaver Stadium.