With the help of an original idiom, O'Brien made himself clear he does not think there is anything wrong with the mettle of his team.
"Our team is enthusiastic, they are proud . . . They love to play football for Penn State," O'Brien said. "We don't have one problem with morale. And never have since I walked in the door. We use the word morale, just throw it out there like it's a cheeseburger."
Though O'Brien said he was never worried about the mental well-being of his team, a 24-point win never hurts. Saturday was by no means a flashy showing by the Penn State offense (the team had just one play of greater than 20 yards), but it totaled 501 yards and running backs Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton combined for 230 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Zwinak got the most work with 26 carries and took them for 149 yards with three visits to the end zone. Meanwhile, Belton managed 81 yards on 19 touches and opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter. As a team, the Lions averaged 5 yards per rush, and the 289 yards were a season-best behind an offensive line that had its way in the trenches.
"I'd say there's nothing better than that feeling if you're an offensive lineman and you're getting yards on the running game," guard John Urschel said. "You just want to run the ball over and over and over again, that's an offensive lineman's dream."
The only real negatives from the running game were fumbles by both Belton and Zwinak, which have been problems all season. As O'Brien said, "We've got to stop putting the ball on the ground, bottom line." However, Penn State's offense was very effective as a whole and the team scored on seven of 11 possessions and did not send the punting unit on the field once.
The victory over Purdue came a week after Penn State's offense was stymied in a 24-10 defeat at Minnesota. The Lions have not had trouble rebounding from losses, but they've also strung together two wins in a row only once, in the first two games of the season.
Nebraska, which has had its own seesaw season, visits Happy Valley on Saturday in Penn State's final home game of the year. Senior linebacker Glenn Carson was asked after the win against Purdue if he thought a seven-win campaign would be considered a success. But as O'Brien did not seem to want to talk about morale, Carson did not want to speculate on win totals.
"I don't think about our record," Carson said. "I think about getting the win for next week, just one game at a time. We have a tough Nebraska team ahead of us."