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NITTANY LIONS LOOK TO RECOVER VS. AGGIES

His team has lost its last three games. Just don't suggest to Joe Paterno that Penn State is in a slump.

"I don't like the term slump," the Nittany Lions coach said Monday. "I thought our kids played hard, they played tough. Some things didn't go that well."

So Paterno praises Penn State's opponents. And he sees tonight's game against No. 18 Texas A&M (8-2) in the Alamo Bowl (7:30, ESPN) in San Antonio, Texas, as a chance for the No. 13 Lions to recover.

"We have a lot of fine seniors who have had great careers . . . and certainly don't want to go out with four losses in a row," Paterno said.

After starting the season 9-0 and going to No. 2 in the rankings, Penn State lost consecutively to Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State. Never has a Paterno team lost four straight.

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