Penn State Football: Keys to the Game (Game #10 – Nebraska Cornhuskers)

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Win the Turnover Battle!


Oct 27, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Adrian Amos (4) breaks up a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (15) during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE


Coming into the game Saturday afternoon, Nebraska has turned the ball over a Big Ten worst 23 times while Penn State has only given away the football 8 times which is good for second in the league.  In fact, Nebraska has turned the ball over in every game but the first against Southern Mississippi.  For Penn State to win this game, they must win the turnover battle, and  more importantly, take advantage of turnovers when they get them.

Amazingly Nebraska is 4-2 when they LOSE the turnover margin in the game.  Sooner or later that trend will come back and bite them!  And, for all of their success this year, Nebraska has been very sloppy with the ball.  Outside of the Southern Miss football game, Nebraska has turned the ball over at least 2 times per game in every contest!

Conversely for Penn State, since the opening week loss to Ohio when the Nittany Lions turned the ball over a season-high 3 times, the Lions have been stingy with their turnovers, only giving the ball away a mere 5 times in 8 games.

Turnovers usually result in short fields, and short fields generally turn into points.  Penn State has to get 7 points, not 3 when they do indeed get a turnover.  Unfortunately for Penn State, they are second from the bottom in the Big Ten when it comes to Red Zone efficiency.  The Lions are scoring at an abysmal 76.19% (32 / 42).  On the bright side of things, of the 32 scores that Penn State has racked up, 25 have been for touchdown.  Those 25 Red Zone touchdowns are good for 4th in the Big Ten.  They will need to score touchdowns if they want to upset Nebraska!

Look for Penn State to eschew at least 2 FG attempts in order to try and put 6 points on the board rather than 3 points.  Also, since Nebraska likes to give up at least 2 turnovers per game, I look for Penn State to have at least two takeaways for their side.  If Penn State can get at least two takeaways, scoring touchdowns on them rather than no points or three points, and take care of the ball in their own right, I think Penn State could have a very happy flight back to Central PA!

Penn State needs to make good use of the turnovers that are likely to come as a result of the defenses pursuit to the ball.  Nebraska can put up points quickly, so every time Penn State gets the chance with a short field, they need to capitalize.


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