Best guess at a record when the Nittany Lions face Nebraska:
Penn State will easily be 8-2 with losses to only Michigan and Ohio State when Nebraska rolls into town. They’ll have had some other close games, but they’ll win them.
The one player you simply must know:
While there are arguably a few players worth knowing, the one that stands out is junior wide receiver Allen Robinson. Robinson was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list for his sensational sophomore season. In 2012, Robinson broke the Penn State school record with 77 receptions. He also had 1,013 receiving yards, which marked the third season of 1,000 yards or more in school history. Beyond just Penn State, Robinson led the Big Ten in receptions, receiving yard and touchdown catches. There is no denying Robinson is a power player that will challenge the Nebraska defense.
How’s the match-up for Nebraska?:
This may become a common theme in 2013 but Taylor Martinez is going to be challenged to stay ahead. Last season, the Nebraska defense gave up 26.2 points per game, which put the Huskers in the bottom part of the conference. If a team can take advantage of this weak spot, they’ll rack up the points on Nebraska. With that said, if the Huskers want to win, it’s going to have to rely on more than Martinez getting touchdowns. The Blackshirts will have to show up.
While Penn State has yet to solidify a starting quarterback, the match-up with the Huskers will be the team’s second to last game of the season. It will also be senior day. The Nittany Lions will have had time by this point to find a rhythm with its quarterback and will treat this game very much like a championship game. While a lot can change over the course of a season, the match-up currently swings in Penn State’s favor.
We all know what was happening the last time Nebraska traveled to Happy Valley, but that’s in the past. This go-around, the Nittany Lions look to make the third time the charm against the Huskers. With a strong offense, Bill O’Brien will turn this game into a track meet of sorts. O’Brien will also target Nebraska’s struggling defense.
The fourth quarter will be the challenge for Nebraska. More than likely, the Huskers will hang with the Nittany Lions, thanks mostly to Martinez, until the fourth quarter rolls around. It’s likely that the Huskers won’t be able to get a crucial stop on a touchdown that will seal the win for Penn State.
Yes, Nebraska’s defense will matter significantly in the outcome of this game. Martinez and the offense can only do so much (a la Northwestern two years ago) on their own. The best example? In 1999, Eric Crouch’s defense gave up 13.2 points per game, while the offense scored an average of 34 points per game. In 2012, the offense was very similar in average points per game to 1999, except the defense gave up around 26.2 points per game.
Penn State wins this one.
Penn State 41 Nebraska 30.