STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Linebacker Mike Hull is looking for the right buttons to push in the Penn State locker room to help the Nittany Lions recover from their first defeat. He started with the reset button.
''I think everyone's done a good job of handling last weekend's game,'' said Hull, a senior who had a career-high 16 tackles during a 29-6 home loss to Northwestern. ''We came in on Sunday and kind pushed the reset button, watched the film, learned from our mistakes and now we're ready to work out our kinks during this bye week.''
Northwestern missed a field goal on its first series and later tried a fake field goal in the red zone that Hull stopped. But the Wildcats still built a 14-0 lead and the game continued to get away from the slow-starting Lions despite 10 first-half tackles by Hull.
''I think field position was a factor in that game, especially early on,'' Hull said. ''We need to play better and more solid; we gave up big plays. It's just one of those games; it was a weird game and we have to be better on defense.''
Penn State entered the game as the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. The Lions dropped to second (60.2 yards per game) in that category and are 10th in total yards per game (288.8) and 12th in scoring defense (14.6 points per game) after yielding 361 yards to the Wildcats.
''We have to get out there and play intense from the first play so that doesn't happen again,'' Hull said. ''A lot of it just has to do with getting into the flow of the game and getting a feel for what the team's doing offensively.''
''But I think that as a leader that myself and all the other seniors have to be extra cautious this week that everyone is upbeat and ready to go and not too down on themselves because there's still a lot of season left,'' he said.
That's the message that coach James Franklin and his staff delivered to the Lions, Hull said.
''They (the coaches) said, `How many teams go undefeated every single year? It's how you respond to it,''' Hull said. ''We're going to take this week to get better and learn from our mistakes and we're going to bounce back and play with intensity and play like we know how come Michigan.''
The Lions are idle until an Oct. 11 night game at Michigan. That's enough time, Hull said, to get back on track.
''We've been working every single day to get better,'' he said. ''Everybody has to pick things out that they want to work on and get better at those things. I think that's the one way.''