Saturday presents the last shot at Ohio State for a large group of Penn State seniors.
Michael Mauti almost wound up playing for Urban Meyer at Florida.
It's only a few plays from being Michael Mauti's first shot.
Penn State's senior linebacker saw some time against the Buckeyes as a true freshman in Penn State's 13-6 win in Columbus in 2008, registering one tackle, but missed the 2009 game, the 2011 game and nearly three quarters of the 2010 game with various injuries.
It would stand to reason, then, that Mauti would relish Saturday's 5:30 p.m. showdown with the undefeated Buckeyes like few other Nittany Lions.
But he's just glad to be on the field against anyone.
"You could pretty much say that about any team," Mauti said Tuesday. "I'm just happy to be healthy to begin with. Really just happy to be a part of this team."
Like Penn State, Ohio State is somewhat handcuffed by NCAA sanctions this season. Neither team can play for the Big Ten championship or in a bowl game.
Ohio State didn't have its players recruited by other teams this summer, however.
"We're kind of in the same boat," Mauti said. "I think their boat's a little bit different."
Mauti said he has respect for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who gushed over the linebacker during Monday's news conference and tried to recruit him when he was at Florida and Mauti was a star high school player in Louisiana. Mauti said he gave serious thought to playing for the Gators but that faded after his visit to Penn State.
The chief focus during this week's practices for Mauti, the team's leading tackler, and the rest of a Penn State defense that has been on a roll is Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, who has thrown for 1,384 yards and 11 touchdowns and run for 959 yards and 10 more scores.
"We've just got to contain him, play our gaps and just make sure we come in there under control and that we're not out of position," Mauti said.
Mauti knows what kind of atmosphere awaits Miller and the Buckeyes on Saturday night.
"I just think it's going to be a electric," he said. "It just doesn't get much better in the Big Ten than that. I just can't wait."