In Bill O’Brien’s press conference after his first Penn State career victory, he said it felt like a long time coming but emphasized it was just one win.
Penn State players said they are thinking that one win can turn into more.
“It was big just to get that first win,” senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. “That’s what coach O’Brien was telling us all week, ‘Once you get one, it’s going to get rolling.’ I feel that that’s big. Once you get that first win, you know what it’s like, and even though we’ve been through two losses, we didn’t want to go through that again.”
The Nittany Lions’ first win of the season was never in doubt as they led wire-to-wire against Navy on Saturday. But it comes after troubling losses for the team in its first two games.
Penn State was unable to maintain halftime leads against Ohio and Virginia, which added some extra pressure for the team in week three of the season, and also made for a larger sigh of relief with the victory.
“The one thing that winning does is it cures a lot of things. Winning also breeds confidence,” O’Brien said. “When the guys go out there and start fast, and we didn't play the most unbelievable game, the guys have confidence from lifting all those weights in the summer, or from practicing the way we practice. There's a reward for that, and we know how to win, and we can win.”
The Lions dominated on both sides of the ball against the Midshipmen with Matt McGloin totaling four touchdowns and their defense creating four Navy turnovers.
And Penn State was also catching breaks Saturday.
Against Ohio, the Lions allowed a momentum-shifting touchdown on a tipped ball in the second half. Against Navy, a McGloin pass deflected off wide receiver Trevor Williams , and fortunately for Penn State, it fell right into the hands of Allen Robinson in the endzone for the sophomore’s third touchdown of the afternoon.
Hill said he believes Penn State can start piecing some wins together, and he’s not basing that on the good fortune the team had against Navy.
“I’m very confident we can get on a winning streak,” Hill said. “We’re a good football team, and hopefully we start adding these wins on and it will show.”
The Lions have one more non-conference game against Temple this weekend at home before starting their Big Ten slate with Illinois at the end of the month. After three games, and now O’Brien’s first win, the media hype surrounding the team is going to die down a bit, which is perfect in the eyes of senior linebacker Michael Mauti.
“I think we’re trying to hopefully build some momentum going into Big Ten season,” the senior linebacker said. “At the end of the day, nobody’s really paying attention to us. And that’s the way we like it, that’s fine with us. We just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”