There's something to be said about this Penn State team that Joe Paterno and his staff has put together.
The Nittany Lions don't have top-caliber players at all the positions, certainly not at quarterback. But what this current group of players may lack in skill has been far eclipsed by the amount of confidence and character this team has.
All season, writers - including and especially myself - have written off this squad as nothing but a middle-of-the-road team with a pair of mediocre quarterbacks. I've said they stink, the play has been pathetic and the entire coaching staff needs to go. And some of the time I've been right.
Yet this team continues to win, which is a tribute to the players and coaches in the Penn State locker room. All the negative reports from the media haven't brought this team down - the players continue to battle hard each week, fight for each other, for JoePa, and they're not about to let anything get in their way.
"We're on a journey to get to the Big Ten championship game," defensive tackle Devon Still said after the 10-7 win over Illinois. "Losing that game, it would have hurt us a lot, but we just keep fighting through. We went out there with the mindset that we were the best team in the conference and right now we're starting to prove it."
If you look back at the games the Nittany Lions have played this season, they've nearly all been close. And as was the case Saturday, they've nearly all come right down to the end.
On their trip to Temple, the Nittany Lions were down early and looked as though they were ready to give up. Yet the players rallied around each other to come back for the 14-10 victory.
The season could have gone awry two weeks later when Penn State again found itself down early and struggling to an anemic opponent the Indiana Hoosiers. Instead, the Lions pulled together and scored 10 points in the third quarter for another close victory.
Same story the next week against Iowa the Nittany Lion offense struggled out of the gate, but rallied just enough at the end to get the win.
"One thing about this football team, I know at times we struggle, but jeez there's a lot of character and there's a lot of feeling for each other and they're really good competitors," Paterno said after the Illinois victory. "I think we have a nice setup in the sense that we're a team, the coaches and the players."
The players don't listen to the talk radio shows, they don't acknowledge the reports in the papers. They simply go out each and every week determined to prove the know-it-alls in the media wrong and play hard for each other.
"I guess it's just something this team has inside them, needing to make a play, needing to get the job done to get another win," quarterback Matt McGloin said Saturday.
McGloin and running back Silas Redd both said that everyone in the huddle prior to Penn State's game-winning drive Saturday knew that they would score.
"The last few minutes when we got the ball, we knew what we had to do," fullback Mike Zordich said. "It shows a lot about what these guys have inside them, what kind of determination, what kind of heart and just how much we play for each other out there."
A lot of the credit has to go to the defense, which has kept the Lions in the game long enough to allow the offense to get its act together. But you can bet every player on the defensive side of the ball will tell you that it's just all part of being a team and they're just doing their part to help the team win.
So next time you or I or anyone else doubts this Penn State squad the rest of the season, just keep in mind that those players in the blue and white are going to take to the field and prove us all wrong.
Now don't get me wrong, I still think the coaching staff needs new blood after this season. But these players are shaping one heck of a storybook ending for a coaching legend.
Postgame quote of the week: "You guys got enough, don't you? You're going to write what you want to write anyway." Joe Paterno, ending his press conference Saturday.
Chris McFarland is the news editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org