Staff Predictions: Penn State vs. Nebraska
The Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3, 4-1) are set to take on the eighteenth ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-1) tomorrow afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska for their final road trip of the season. Let’s get right to the picks and see what our writers are thinking about the Big Ten showdown.
Penn State 24 Nebraska 23
Last season, Nebraska came away with a victory at Beaver Stadium, hurting Penn State’s chances of winning the Leaders Division and playing in the Big Ten Championship game. Tomorrow, the Nittany Lions have a chance for some revenge. In order to pull off the upset road victory, they will have to play a mistake free game. The Cornhuskers are undefeated at home this year and have dropped only two games at Memorial Stadium since the start of the 2010 season.
The Nittany Lions will not be a popular pick here but given how this team has played on the road, I am going with them in a one point game. The Cornhuskers defense is surrendering 30.2 points per contest in Big Ten play, and quarterback Taylor Martinez, while much improved this year, has thrown 7 interceptions in his last 4 games. Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah will get their yards on the ground, especially if Jordan Hill misses the game due to injury, but Matt McGloin makes some big throws late in the fourth quarter to cap off a big win in the final and toughest road test of the season.
Nebraska 30 Penn State 24
I think we see an offensive game with Penn State falling just short. Nebraska’s inconsistency this year is well noted, barely squeaking one out against mediocre Michigan State last weekend. But ultimately, I think Nebraska’s offensive scheme is conducive to a victory against Penn State. Look for Matt McGloin and the offense to have a solid game with the defense unable to last four quarters after Nebraska makes adjustments.
Nebraska 27 Penn State 24
I cannot stand Taylor Martinez. He is a terrible, terrible quarterback. However, he is a great athlete and a better dual-threat quarterback than Braxton Miller. His disgustingly awful shot put of a throwing motion somehow has him ranked third in the Big Ten in passing yards. If the Nittany Lions want to win this game, they will have to contain the run game and make Martinez shot put the ball into the arms of defenders. Martinez has already lobbed up eight interceptions this season.
The offense, led by Big Ten passing leader Matt McGloin, should have some success. Nebraska’s vaunted “Black Shirt” defense has not played as well as it has in previous years. Look for running back Zack Zwinak to start and lead the Lions on the ground. He will need to see a lot of carries to limit Nebraska’s offensive possessions. Ultimately, I just do not see things going Penn State’s way in its first hostile road game of the season
Penn State 28 Nebraska 24
In the first nine games of the season, Penn State has shown an ability to play at the same level of its opponent and mirror the type of game to match the competition. Matt McGloin and the Nittany Lions offense will match the high-speed Cornhusker attack, and the game should be close most of the way.
Given Penn State’s Big Ten success on the road and coming off a strong all-around showing in West Lafayette, the Nittany Lions will escape Lincoln with a narrow victory.
Nebraska 31 Penn State 28
This will definitely be an up-tempo kind of game. Each team will get their points, and I expect them to come early and often. The key will be third down defense. Whichever defense can get off the field on third down the most will win this game.
I think this will be dog fight down to the last minute with Taylor Martinez finally driving down the field to set up a game winning field goal. However, if the Nittany Lions can make the proper halftime defensive adjustments, I could easily see it going the other way.
Nebraska 24 Penn State 10
The Nittany Lions have proven to be good on the road, but Memorial Stadium and Nebraska are a whole other beast from what Penn State has faced thus far. Bill O’Brien’s club keeps it close until the fourth quarter, but the atmosphere and Taylor Martinez’s legs will be the different as time expires.
Nebraska 35 Penn State 28
Taylor Martinez may be the biggest dual threat in the Big Ten. Closing in on 2,000 yards passing, he is having another phenomenal year with 26 touchdowns on the season (18 passing, 8 rushing) and 2,607 all-purpose yards.
The entire defense must be solid or Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah will run wild. The Cornhuskers defense has been inconsistent this season, but the Nittany Lions will need a very strong showing from their offensive line to have a chance here.
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About the Author
The Nittany Lions moved up one spot following their 33-28 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
Toney finished the game with four sacks, including a crucial one on the Hoosiers’ final drive of the game late in the fourth quarter.
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