For the defense

CHICAGO -- Two months ago, everyone (including yours truly) felt that the losses along Penn State's defensive line would haunt the Lions as they winded deep into the Big Ten portion of its schedule. With three games to go, that hasn't been the case at all. In fact, the line has been a strength for a unit that slipped under the radar as the new "Spread HD" offense garnered all the headlines. Coordinator Tom Bradley hasn't gotten his recognition at all for the job he's doing. I try to give him some in this morning's story.

But when it came time to win a closely fought, hard-nose game, the defense made its case as Penn State beat Ohio State two weeks ago to move to 9-0. With three games to play, including tomorrow's test at Iowa, the Lions will need their defense as the weather switches into full autumn mode. They're calling for a mixture of rain, sleet and snow in Iowa City and that's usually a recipe for offensive disaster.

I'm sitting in O'Hare International waiting for my connecting flight to Cedar Rapids. I guess I'll see (or feel) what the weather is like upon my landing in Iowa. Ah ... the midwest.