Game Day: Nebraska vs. Penn State

Down but not out

When Nebraska receiver Quincy Enunwa gathered fellow seniors Tuesday to discuss a week of preparation for Saturday's tilt at Penn State, he didn't mince words: Don't simmer in disappointment. Shoddy play in Happy Valley in front of a Big Ten Network audience could make a season full of injuries and misfires even harder to stomach. "It's about pride," Enunwa said. "If you don't play for pride, you shouldn't be playing at all. At this point in the season, we're not going to make it to the championship game, so you have to play for pride."

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2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Penn State rush defense

Penn State was considered as strong up front as any Big Ten team starting the season, but the Nittany Lions are only in the middle of the pack in rushing defense (144 yards per game, 3.9 per carry). Nebraska hasn’t topped 200 yards the past four games but continues to get reliable production from I-back Ameer Abdullah, who hurt PSU a year ago. Edge: NU

Nebraska pass offense vs. Penn State pass defense

Nebraska is completing just 52.8 percent of its throws in Big Ten play and there have been timing and communication issues of late (some costly). Tommy Armstrong has as many interceptions as touchdown passes (seven of each), and NU will protect him with a pieced-together line. PSU wins here if it can put the Huskers in obvious passing downs. Edge: PSU

Penn State rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

NU seems to be improving, but the fact remains that the Huskers aren’t far removed from Minnesota and Northwestern hanging a combined 516 yards and six TDs on their run defense over back-to-back Saturdays. PSU is more steady than flashy with Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak, but will commit to it (40-plus attempts per game). Edge: NU

Penn State pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

True freshman Christian Hackenberg is getting more comfortable in Bill O’Brien’s offense, and it doesn’t hurt to have the best receiver in the Big Ten in Allen Robinson. Nebraska has turned up its pass rush in recent weeks, led by defensive end Randy Gregory, but has just one interception in the past four games after getting 11 in the first six. Edge: PSU

Special teams

Nebraska can’t afford any repeat of last week, which included a fumbled return, a punt being downed on its 1-yard line and Michigan State executing a fake field goal. NU also has gone backward with its net punting average, from No. 16 before the Minnesota game to No. 46 now. Neither team is very explosive in its return game. Edge: PSU

Intangibles

Penn State has the fewest penalty yards in the Big Ten, but like NU is on the negative side in turnover margin. The Lions, though, are going for a winning record and should be charged up on Senior Day. NU needs to summon the right response after being eliminated from the Legends Division race last week. Edge: PSU

Key matchup: Allen Robinson vs. Nebraska's cornerbacks

Few teams have slowed down Allen Robinson, the Nittany Lions’ junior receiver who leads the Big Ten in catches (81) and receiving yards (1,204). Nebraska can choose to challenge him with Stanley Jean-Baptiste or mix in Ciante Evans and Josh Mitchell — but the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jean-Baptiste is the one who can match Robinson’s size (6-3, 210).

Nebraska wins if ...

... It takes care of the football and does the potential damage it can do offensively.

Penn State wins if ...

... It rides the emotional wave available to it and puts together a balanced offensive game.

Our take

Penn State hasn’t shown up offensively a couple of times and can be had defensively. All that said, just enough other things might be going its way. With a lot of the above categories pretty close, some of it simply could come down to which freshman quarterback plays better, and Hackenberg will have 100,000-plus fans behind him.

Our prediction: Penn State 28, Nebraska 27

Live updates

 

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Extras

Printable rosters

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Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Penn State game provided by the Huskers athletic department. Click here »

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Listen: BRT Podcast

In this week’s edition of “The Big Red Today Podcast,” Jon Nyatawa and Sam McKewon discuss those problems before breaking down Saturday’s matchup with Penn State. They also talk about Ameer Abdullah’s impressive season, the banged-up offensive line, the improving linebackers and NU’s blitz schemes. Click here »

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Big Red Today coverage

Webster, Diaz see countries’ teams fall

Two players with Nebraska ties saw action, but were on the losing end in their games at the Basketball World Cup on Saturday.

Husker sophomore Tai Webster started for New ...

Tracking the Husker offense, defense

World-Herald staff writer Rich Kaipust takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 55-7 win over Florida Atlantic.

* * *

TRACKING THE OFFENSE

The ...

Game Replay: Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7

World-Herald correspondent Steve Beideck takes a look at some of the key moments that helped shape NU’s 55-7 win over Florida Atlantic.

Peculiar play

That behind-the-back catch by NU ...

Video: Postgame analysis with Sam McKewon

World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon offers his instant reaction to Nebraska's 55-7 win over Florida Atlantic in the season-opener on Saturday.

They said it: Bo Pelini on FAU, Armstrong, the behind-the-back catch and more

Check out the video and transcript from Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's postgame press conference following the Huskers' 55-7 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

Opening statement: 

"I thought it ...

Video: Husker postgame press conference

Watch the postgame press conference with Husker coach Bo Pelini and select NU players:

Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini

Video: Nebraska receiver Jordan Westerkamp

Video: Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong:

Video ...

784 reasons for optimism: Husker offense has record-setting day

LINCOLN — Efficient. Explosive. Impressive. Historic. Nebraska’s offense blasted its way to a modern era Big Ten record and its defense blitzed through first-quarter glitches as if they were that ...

Tom's Takes: Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7

The World-Herald's Tom Shatel offers his quick takeaways from the Nebraska-Florida Atlantic game.

* * *

There was a lot to like Saturday, especially on offense. Playmakers everywhere. But what I liked ...

Former Huskers Ankrah, Compton and Martin make NFL squads

Former Nebraska kicker Alex Henery wasn't the only former Husker to be cut as NFL teams trimmed rosters on Saturday. But there was good news for some former NU ...

Husker Talk Live: Postgame replay

Staff writer Jon Nyatawa logged on one hour after the game for a special postgame edition of the "Husker Talk Live" chat to tackle your questions about the Nebraska-Florida Atlantic ...

Third quarter: Nebraska 48, Florida Atlantic 7

Now things are just getting silly. Nebraska's in full control of its opener, but the Huskers are still providing plenty of entertainment.

Jordan Westerkamp caught a pass behind his ...

Halftime: Nebraska 31, Florida Atlantic 7

What a start for Nebraska's offense. Five scores on the first five drives. Making it look easy.

Sophomore Tommy Armstrong seems more comfortable than ever running the show at ...

The Huskers have changed the Tunnel Walk (a tiny bit)

There was a whole lot of speculation about changes to the Tunnel Walk leading up to Saturday's NU-FAU game, the season opener at Memorial Stadium.

There were some small ...

First quarter: Nebraska 14, Florida Atlantic 7

Not sure we saw this coming. Nebraska's offense begins its opener by driving efficiently down the field, while the much-hyped NU defense can't get off it.

The result ...

Former Husker Alex Henery cut by Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles announced their 53-man roster on Saturday afternoon, and former Husker kicker Alex Henery didn't make the cut.

The Eagles listed one kicker — rookie Cody Parkey — on ...

Opportunity knocks, NU's Ostrander opens door

LINCOLN — Alicia Ostrander was prepared to take the next step in her college volleyball career, but found out only Friday just how big the step would be.

That was when ...

Big Ten volleyball offers new look after banner year

Last season was a historical high-water mark for Big Ten Conference volleyball. The league saw seven teams reach the NCAA round of 16, the most by any conference in history ...

Huskers represented in FIBA Basketball World Cup

A pair of players with Nebraska ties are in action in the FIBA Basketball World Cup that begins Saturday. NU sophomore Tai Webster (New Zealand) and former Husker Jorge Brian ...

Florida State hands No. 7 Huskers season-opening defeat

LINCOLN — The fans who piled into the Devaney Center Friday — more of them than at any other match since the building’s renovation last year — watched the Nebraska volleyball team ...

Big Red Breakfast: Pelini sees big things from O-line

It might still be a work in progress, but Nebraska coach Bo Pelini on Friday sounded bullish on the Huskers’ offensive line.

That would be a unit, by the way ...

From the Archives: The Huskers, Bugeaters, Rattlesnake Boys and more

Old Gold Knights, Antelopes, Rattlesnake Boys and the Bugeaters. Those were the names for Nebraska's football team before 1900.

Iowa was actually using the name Cornhuskers at the time ...

Husker Talk Live Volleyball: Replay

Replay Friday's special season-opening "Husker Talk Live" volleyball chat with beat writer Jeff Sheldon to track the discussion of NU's upcoming weekend matches with Florida State and Stanford ...

Mad Chatter: Joe Glenn's hunting trip, why the B1G needs to bolster opening night, Tunnel Walk feedback

It’s Friday! That means Ten Big stories in 10 little bites. We’re exclusively football today. We cover Jerry Jones’ Scotch and Barry Alvarez’s cabana, Rutgers’ statement win ...

Big Red Breakfast: Kenny Bell to field punts Saturday

It appears that Kenny Bell will be extra busy Saturday.

The senior already is on pace to become Nebraska’s all-time leading receiver, heading into the season with 134 career ...

Big Red Breakfast: Bo Pelini calls marijuana 'out of control' in society

Bo Pelini veered off topic on Friday morning at the Big Red Breakfast and took a strong stance against marijuana, telling a crowd of about 250 that it’s a ...

Shatel: Can new-image Pelini rid Huskers of old foibles?

What will Bo do next?

Rumor has it Bo Pelini is going to unveil a new look for today’s 2014 season opener. Some suggestions come immediately to mind.

1 ...

Barfknecht: Badgers not buffaloed by LSU

At first glance, this looks like a recipe for a mess.

No. 14 Wisconsin opens the season on Saturday night against longtime SEC power No. 13 LSU with no returning ...

Bryant family history comes full circle, but not in Nebraska red

Every morning at 6:30, headlights turned up Camden Avenue and pulled into the one-lane driveway atop the hill.

Dad had to go to work early, so Brandin Bryant and ...

Laying it on the line: Defensive front four could be fantastic for Nebraska

LINCOLN — Close his ears.

Sophomore defensive tackle Vincent Valentine wants to turn down the volume and “walk away from 
the hype” surrounding Nebraska’s defensive line.

But the hype, in ...

Flynn’s late score helps Huskers edge Butler

LINCOLN — Caroline Flynn scored in the 83rd minute to lift the Nebraska soccer team to a 1-0 win over Butler on Friday.

Flynn’s second goal of the season came ...