Huskers offer an intriguing matchup for Penn State

You can bet on almost anything in Las Vegas, yet there was apparently no over/under set, back in the summer of 2012, on Penn State victories in the 1st two years of time after the Sandusky scandal & NCAA sanctions.

If there had been, it would have been considerably south of 15.

Penn State will shoot for No. 15 of the Bill O’Brien Era, & a 2nd consecutive winning season, when it hosts Nebraska Saturday (3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network) at Beaver Stadium.

A win would be the seventh of the season for the Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten). They went 8-4 a year ago, in addition to wins in eight of their last 10.

Several elements beyond a winning record on the line combine to make the matchup more intriguing than the usual week 11 game between clubs in that will not play for conference, much less national, titles.

One, it’s Senior Day at the Beav, a day in that carries more than ceremonial resonance post-Sandusky. Two, last year’s game in Lincoln was memorable & controversial, a 32-23 Nebraska win in which Penn State appeared to have a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown — — tight end Matt Lehman pushing the ball over the goal line — — denied by officials, & then the call upheld on replay.

That led to a tense post-game interview session in which Penn State QB Matt McGloin said, “We’re not gonna get in that call. Write what you think. … We’re not gonna get any assist whatsoever in these types of games.”

It appears to be a tough spot for Nebraska (7-3, 4-2). The Huskers came in to Saturday trailing Michigan State by one game in the Big Ten Legends Division, had the Spartans at home & competed before falling, 41-28.

Nebraska will moreover be going without veteran QB Taylor Martinez, whose nagging foot injury is now, apparently, college career-ending.

His backup, Tommy Armstrong, completed 9 of 21 passes for 143 yards Saturday, with two touchdowns & an interception.
Nit-Notes: Nittany Nation, or at least its corner of the cyberspace, was bananas Sunday afternoon as McGloin made his 1st NFL start.

Or, as Black Shoe Diaries’ Dan Vecellio put it: “The MOXIEPOCALYPSE has arrived. Bow down to your ginger leader.”

The undrafted rookie came up big, completing 18 of 32 passes for 187 yards, three TDs, no interceptions & a 105.9 rating, & earning a game ball from his teammates, as the Raiders beat Houston, 28-23.

Houston’s starting QB was Case Keenum, who lit up McGloin & the Lions with the University of Houston in the 2011 Ticket City Bowl. …

Numbers keep piling up for WR Allen Robinson, who had another eight-catch, 98-yard day at the office in Saturday’s 45-21 success over Purdue.

With 81 catches for 1,204 yards, Robinson keeps breaking his own single-season school marks for receptions & receiving yards. With 2,246 career yards & 161 catches, he’s now tied for third & fourth, respectively, on the school’s career lists. …

True-freshman starting quarterbacks are rare, yet Saturday’s game had two of them, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg & Purdue’s Danny Etling.

The two know each other well, having been roommates at the Elite 11 Camp last summer, & shared a hug after the game.

“He’s a amazing player,” Hackenberg asserted last week. “(The camp) was a amazing experience for both of us. Just getting to know him he’s a really acceptable kid.”

Etling showed he can play a little. With no running game & virtually no offensive line, he completed 21 of 33 throws for 223 yards, a TD & an interception. He moreover had an 11-yard touchdown run. …

Penn State Market Report: Rising: 1. CB Jordan Lucas (emerging as one of not just the defense’s, yet the team’s, best players); 2. TE Adam Breneman (first college TD; true freshman coming on fast); 3. WR Geno Lewis (not absolutely a triumphant return to the offense — — three catches for 19 yards — — yet a solid one); 4. RB Akeel Lynch (healthy again, acceptable for five yards a pop all year); 5. LB Brandon Bell & S Malik Golden (tie between two frosh who added athleticism in Las Vegas style promotion from special teams); 6. Kicker Sam Ficken (showed potential as emergency fill-in at linebacker) (yes, that’s a joke).

Falling: 1. WR Brandon Felder (persona non grata); 2. S Jesse Della Valle (being pushed by younger, faster players); 3. LB Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (being pushed by younger, bigger players); 4. DE Anthony Zettel (seems to be fading a bit in a crowded d-line picture).

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