STATE COLLEGE, Pa.- After a one-point loss to Ohio State and then a bye week, head coach James Franklin was happy with what he saw from his players at Tuesday's practice.
"I thought it was the best practice we've had in four years since we've been here," Franklin said. "One of the biggest things that probably doesn't get talked about enough is the scout team. Our scout teams are completely different than they were four years ago."
During the bye week, the scout team got four practices in and three lifts while the travel squad had three practices and two lifts. Coach Franklin said the scout team is the reason they were able to have the best practice of the season.
"They have a legitimate ability to replicate what we are going to face," Franklin said. "Ours is getting to a point where the scout players are getting better, they're having fun, they're competing and they're challenging."
Redshirt senior Nick Scott said special teams was a particular strength at Tuesday's practice.
"That's a group that is pretty much driven by younger guys," Scott said. "To see them coming out, starting the way they did with a tremendous amount of focus, it set the tone for the whole practice."
Penn State is 17-14 after a bye week and has won its last two games following a bye, including a win over No. 2 Ohio State in 2016 and a Penn State whiteout rout of Michigan in 2017.
No. 8 Penn State returns to action against Michigan State in its homecoming and annual stripeout game at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions look to get the Land Grant Trophy back in their possession. Penn State received the trophy in 2016 with a 45-12 victory that clinched the Big Ten East Division, but the Spartans reclaimed it with a last-second field goal last season.
"With Michigan State's success in the past years, they are a prominent program in this division," Scott said. "We're always going to get everybody's best shot, so we gotta be on our Ps and Qs."