November 12, 2011; University Park, PA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez (3) gets tackled by Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Jordan Hill (47) at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Penn State - Nebraska Prediction Roundtable

Penn State is headed to Lincoln this weekend and will attempt to extend their Big Ten road winning streak to four. We’ll see what the VBR staff thinks of the matchup, starting with our newest staff member, Mary Clarke!

Mary Clarke:

This week Penn State is coming off a relatively easy – albeit boring – win over the Purdue Boilermakers while last weekend Nebraska had to rally back from 10 down in the fourth quarter to Michigan State. The Cornhuskers lead the Big Ten in total offense and are currently ranked 18th in the AP poll but the Nittany Lions have been consistently starting games off well, outscoring opponents 76-3 in the first quarter.
This weekend look for Penn State to come out with a strong first quarter, hitting early with the running game. With Nebraska’s running back Rex Burkhead’s status for Saturday still uncertain, expect them to try to air the ball out more. The game will be close to the end but the determining factor will be Sam Ficken (yes, Sam Ficken) – whose confidence has grown exponentially since the Virginia game – who will kick a perfect 3 for 3 field goals, giving Penn State the late win.

PSU: 30
Neb: 27 

Matt de Bear:

There is no question that Nebraska’s strength is on the offensive side of the ball, especially at quarterback, with dual threat Taylor Martinez.  Penn State’s unquestioned strength on defense is the front 7, lead by the best linebacking corps in the Big 10.  That’s the match up to watch in this one.  Can Penn State’s athletic linebackers do enough to slow down Taylor Martinez, and the Huskers running attack, and make Martinez have to throw the ball.  On the other side, Nebraska’s defense has struggled mightily all year, and Penn State’s offense seems to improve on a weekly basis.  If PSU gets out to the fast start’s they have had most of this season, that spells trouble for Nebraska.

I expect the Lions’ D to hold the Huskers in check early, while the PSU offense puts a couple of scores on the board, forcing Nebraska to eventually open up the offense, and put Martinez is passing situations.  He’ll make plays, but an early PSU lead will be too much to overcome.

PSU: 28
Neb: 24
Corey Hunter:

Penn State will be playing their last road game of the 2012 campaign.  Penn State has been remarkably good on the road this year going 3-1 and if not for some special teams gaffes at Virginia, they could be 4-0.  This week will definitely be their toughest road challenge as they travel to Lincoln, Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers are looking to maintain their lead in the Legend’s Division and will have a lot to play for in this game.

Believe it or not, Nebraska has the 5th rated pass defense in the entire country (156.o ypg)!  Yea, I had to do a double check on that one too.  However, the Cornhuskers have the 89th ranked rushing defense (183.1 ypg).  Look for the Nittany Lions to try to continue the tend from last week and pound the ball.  Look for Belton to bounce back and work in tandem with Zwinak.  Penn State should be able to gain a total of 150 yards on the ground.  The passing game may be another issue.

It looks like Ohio State found the blueprint to rattle Matt McGloin.  The Buckeyes were able to generate a pass rush with their down linemen and then were able to activate their linebackers to make the immobile McGloin uncomfortable.  The Cornhuskers have recorded a Big Ten-leading 24.0 sacks and will likely try to copy what worked for Ohio State.

In the end, a more balanced Nebraska offense will frustrate Penn State’s defense, and the Cornhusker defense will be able to stymie the Penn State offense enough to pull out the win.  The dual threat capabilities of QB Taylor Martinez, the running game of Ameer Abdullah, and the WR skills of Kenn Bell, I think, are just too much for the Nittany Lions to overcome, not to mention the hostile environment in Lincoln.  I look for McGloin to have one of his worst passing games this year, and the Nittany Lions will have trouble establishing a solid running game.

PSU: 23
Neb: 31
Tim Tolley:
I like Penn State to put up some points this week but Nebraska is going to get theirs, as well. Nebraska’s offense is more dangerous than the Buckeyes simply due to the amount of weapons they have. Penn State will HAVE to utilize their running backs because Nebraska is strong against the pass. Can Penn State’s running game keep up with Nebraska’s offense? Can Matt McGloin capitalize on his opportunities and put points on the board? I don’t like their chances in Lincoln.
PSU: 27
Neb: 30
Craig Dauman:
I love this team and what they are doing with a lot of un-hyped, “no-name” guys. On offense, the coaching staff has turned Matt McGloin into a top Big Ten passer, while working with a group of running backs no one ever heard of before the season, a tight end spot unused by the prior staff despite depth and talent, and a depleted wide receiver group. And while some feared Roof would come in and ruin the defense, they have been solid as per usual, minus a lot of turnover opportunities left on the field by the secondary. Despite all the praise this team deserves, I just don’t know that they can walk into Memorial Stadium and beat a pretty hot Nebraska team. Spread attacks will always worry me defensively, and I would almost rather see Burkhead back instead of the elusive Abdullah. However, if my prediction is wrong it will be because T-Mart continues his streak of turnovers and Penn State exploits Nebraska’s subpar (in Blackshirt standards) defense. I think PSU will have to stay balances and successfully run the ball to do so. Nebraska has talented corners, too talented to sit back and expect pass all day.
PSU: 24
Neb: 31
Eric Sion:
The Cornhuskers are riding a three-game winning streak and coming off a tough win in East Lansing. The Nittany Lions will try to keep the momentum going from their trouncing of Purdue and try to play spoiler in the Big Ten. This game features two of the top three passers in the Big Ten in Matt McGloin and Taylor Martinez. Martinez has really stepped his game up recently and he will be a huge challenge for Ted Roof’s defense to try to contain. Especially if Jordan Hill doesn’t play, look for Martinez to have a similar game that Braxton Miller had against Penn State. The Nittany Lion defense must also stop Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, who has three straight 100-yard rushing games. If Penn State wants to have any chance to win, they’ll need to run the ball against a Nebraska defense that has given up the third most rushing yards in the Big Ten. I think Penn State’s offense will be able to put up points, but the hostile environment in Lincoln and Martinez’s dual-threat capabilities will be a little too much for Penn State to overcome.
PSU: 24
Neb: 31
Chuck Reynolds:
I think Nebraska has an inevitable letdown after a win against Sparty that frankly should have been a loss. Even if the Huskers lose this game they will pound the Gophers and Hawkeyes in their last 2 games and move on to the B1G Championship Game against either defending champ Wisconsin or Indiana.  Did I just type Indiana? Am I in a twilight zone?
Moving back to Saturday’s game besides the letdown factor remeber that Rex Burkhead is still hurting. Frankly it is more important for Nebraska to get him healthy by December 1st than to play him this week and risk further injury. I am not saying this game will be easy-but I do think PSU gets revenge for last year’s tough loss (in more ways than one) last November in Happy Valley.
PSU: 24
Neb: 20
Final tally: Penn State 4, Nebraska 3

Next Nittany Lions Game Full schedule »
Friday, Oct 2424 Oct7:00Holy Cross CrusadersBuy Tickets

Tags: Football Nebraska Cornhuskers Penn State Nittany Lions

comments powered by Disqus