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."


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


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




Printable rosters

Looking for a handy reference guide that you can take to the game? Check out our two-page printable roster, sorted by jersey number and including height, weight, year in school, hometown and high school information. Click here »

Game notes

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

On social media

Check out the Big Red Today page on Facebook to discuss the latest news with the top Husker fans, and follow us on Twitter to get instant updates and analysis whenever news breaks.

BRT app

iPhone and Android users, get your Husker updates on the go by downloading our free Big Red Today app from the App Store and the Google Play store. and

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 »

Recruiting updates

Visit the Big Red Today recruiting page to find the latest updates on potential future Huskers, including player cards for those athletes already committed. Click here »

Email alerts

Sign up for the Big Red Today email newsletter to get the Husker news, analysis, daily headlines and more delivered to your inbox. Click here »

Big Ten coverage

Look for additional updates on our Big Ten page to get the best coverage of the conference from both The World-Herald and some of the best writers from across the country. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Chance to work with QB Winston ‘exciting’ to Kenny Bell

LINCOLN — Tampa Bay went hunting for some receiver help for No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston on Saturday, and former Nebraska star Kenny Bell was one of the Buccaneers’ finds ...

Former Huskers sign rookie free-agent deals

LINCOLN — Jake Cotton immediately settled on a priority free-agent deal with the Houston Texans after the NFL draft concluded Saturday, starting his attempt to follow in the footsteps of former ...

Paul Chryst keeping coordinator is big for Badger defense

When Paul Chryst took over as Wisconsin’s football coach in December, his most important recruiting trip was also his shortest.

It involved walking down the hallway of the Badger ...

Big Ten spring look: West Division capsules

An in-depth look at each team in the Big Ten West Division, with returning starters, what we know, what we want to know and some fun facts. Check back next ...

Former Husker captain dies at 79

Former Nebraska and pro football player LaVerne Torczon died last month at the age of 79 from heart failure.

Known as “Tarzan” Torczon during his playing days with the Huskers ...

Abdullah leapfrogs Gregory as both former Huskers land in NFL's second round

LINCOLN — Former Nebraska teammates Ameer Abdullah and Randy Gregory landed in spots not that far apart Friday night in the NFL draft.

Their paths to those second-round selections were quite ...

Former Husker Randy Gregory still available after falling out of NFL draft's first round

LINCOLN — Randy Gregory closed out Thursday night by settling for a spot on the many “best available” lists rather than a spot in the first round of the NFL draft ...

Scott Baldwin dies at 45; illness led to tragedy as a Husker football player

LINCOLN — William Washington said former Nebraska teammates Scott Baldwin and Mike Grant used to go around mimicking the tag-team wrestling combination of “The Bushwackers,” and recalled being defenseless as they ...

The Big Ten Roundup with Lee Barfknecht: Replay

Replay Wednesday's "Big Ten Roundup" chat with World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht to get his take on the latest news from around the conference.

Also, check out our Big ...

Mike'l Severe's 2015 mock draft

Ready for the first round? The Bottom Line’s Mike’l Severe sure is. Below is how he sees things breaking down on Thursday, the first day of the NFL ...

Sam McKewon's 2015 mock draft

Ready for the first round? The World-Herald's Sam McKewon sure is. Below is how he sees things breaking down on Thursday, the first day of the NFL draft.

* * *

1 ...

McKewon: No. 2 pick could hold key to intriguing NFL draft

A wild Thursday night fit for the latest “Fast and Furious” movie should open the door to a quieter weekend for this year’s NFL draft.

As our yearly fascination ...

Husker Talk Live: Replay

Replay Tuesday's "Husker Talk Live" chat with World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon to get his take on the latest Nebraska football headlines.

For more Husker football coverage, follow Sam ...

Ameer Abdullah’s brother helps carry some of running back’s load — as his agent

LINCOLN — It all made sense at the start, when Ameer Abdullah enlisted the help of his older brother to begin vetting potential agents for the former Nebraska I-back as he ...

Nebraska among schools that would favor football helmet transmitters for games

LINCOLN — Throughout Nebraska spring football and then the Red-White scrimmage, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf utilized a wireless system that allowed him to communicate with his quarterbacks through a transmitting device ...

Incoming Husker Devine Ozigbo strives to be a complete back

LINCOLN — Devine Ozigbo watched Nebraska’s spring game. The 2015 Husker signee at running back liked what he saw, both from his future teammates/competitors at the position, and what ...

Randy Gregory’s failed drug test means increase in research from clubs lower in draft

LINCOLN — There was a time several weeks ago when teams picking after No. 10 in the first round of the draft maybe didn’t need to invest much into their ...

McKewon: Canes underachieved, but remain a threat to Huskers

Make sure to also check out the capsules of Nebraska football's four nonconference opponents next season — BYU, South Alabama, Miami and Southern Miss — including key departures, positions of strength ...

Capsules: Husker nonconference foes pose a challenge

A capsulized look at the Nebraska football's four nonconference opponents next season — BYU, South Alabama, Miami and Southern Miss. The breakdowns include key departures, positions of strength, quarterback situations ...

Scrutiny of the red flags of NFL draft picks as exhaustive as ever

The pressure for the upcoming NFL draft is as much on team decision makers as it is on the players hoping to build a career in professional football.

While general ...

Deep running back class, including former Husker Abdullah, awaits NFL draft

LINCOLN — The consensus is that Todd Gurley won’t have to wait long to hear his name called Thursday night when the NFL draft begins, and that Melvin Gordon also ...

Davis twins are on track to help Nebraska in two sports

It became much easier Thursday to see Carlos and Khalil Davis wearing different Nebraska uniforms in the spring of 2016.

Once the ’16 Red-White game is in the books, the ...

Nebraska's matchup with Michigan State set for prime time

Nebraska's Nov. 7 football game against Michigan State will be shown in prime time, the Big Ten and its television partners announced Thursday.

The game will be at 6 ...

Nebraska lawmakers drop political football for football with Mike Riley

WASHINGTON — Husker football coach Mike Riley told a group of Nebraskans on Wednesday that he’s energized to be molding a new football team and impressed with the warm welcome ...

McKewon: Huskers hope recruits gravitate to them with satellite camps

LINCOLN — A freshly brewed college football recruiting Cold War has a couple of Alabama guys ticked.

Well, if you can’t rile up a Crimson Tide man every so often ...

Husker Talk Live: Replay

Replay the "Husker Talk Live" chat with staff writer Rich Kaipust his take on the latest Nebraska football headlines.

Live Blog Husker Talk Live: Noon

Report: Former Husker assistant coach Ron Brown joining Turner Gill’s staff at Liberty

LINCOLN — In January, former Nebraska running backs coach Ron Brown said he was following fired Husker coach Bo Pelini to Youngstown State because of Pelini’s “courage” and “loyalty.”

According ...

Celebration honoring Fiala set for Thursday

Family and friends of Adrian Fiala have organized a “Celebration of Life” for the former Nebraska athlete and broadcaster, to be held Thursday night at the Champions Club across from ...

Stability of Mike Riley coaching staffs lures Brian Stewart to NU

LINCOLN — Brian Stewart had no direct connection with new Nebraska football coach Mike Riley before being hired as the Huskers’ secondary coach in late February.

But Stewart knew people who ...

Chatelain: Monument to Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne still touches an entire state

The lot was mostly empty Saturday afternoon when two old friends pulled in and parked illegally. They climbed the steps and approached the front door of Nebraska football headquarters. They ...