Penn State vs. Nebraska Preview
This Saturday the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten), to Beaver Stadium for their final home game of the 2013 season.
A win would move the Nittany Lions to one win away from where they finished last season, and a loss would assure that Bill O’Brien’s second year in Happy Valley would be a setback record-wise.
This has been an up and down season for the Nittany Lions, who won big last week over the Purdue Boilermakers, 45-21. In that game, Penn State’s run game continued its torrid pace, as Zach Zwinak was the top rusher, with 149 yards and three touchdowns. The game continued the trend of Penn State coming out strong after a loss; the Nittany Lions fell to Minnesota two weeks ago, by a score of 24-10.
Nebraska is coming off of a loss at the hands of Michigan State last week, 41-28. Turnovers continued to be the Cornhuskers Achilles heel, as they gave up the ball five times, including four fumbles and an interception.
The last meeting between Nebraska and Penn State came last November, in Lincoln, when the Cornhuskers defeated the Nittany Lions, 32-23. Penn State led the game 20-6 at the half, but was outscored 26-3 in the second half. Despite the score, Nittany Lion quarterback Matt McGloin had a game-high 240 passing yards, and teammate Zach Zwinak led the game in rushing, with 141 yards.
The fact that Saturday’s game is at Beaver Stadium gives Penn State a distinct advantage, especially this season. The Nittany Lions are 5-1 at home this year, and a dismal 1-3 on the road.
The story of the season for Penn State so far, has undoubtedly been junior wide receiver, Allen Robinson. After breaking Penn State’s single season receptions record with 77 in his sophomore campaign, Robinson has already surpassed that total in his 10 games this year, with 81 catches and still two games to be played. Although he hasn’t scored since the Nittany Lions matchup with Ohio State on October 26, Robinson continues to be the primary target for freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
For Nebraska, the big story this season is the injury to senior quarterback Taylor Martinez. The California native was injured in the Cornhuskers 41-21 loss to UCLA in September, and has played just one game since. Many figure his five-year career at Nebraska to be over.
Stepping into his role has been freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr., who has had his struggles at the helm of the Huskers. While Armstrong has thrown for seven touchdowns and 802 yards in six games, he has also thrown seven interceptions.
The Nittany Lions will honor 17 seniors in a pre-game ceremony, prior to the 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
John McHugh is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)