PSU faces big test on road at Nebraska

Posted by on November 8, 2012

Penn State has had three impressive road wins in the Big Ten this year.  But those wins were against Illinois, Iowa, and Purdue.  Saturday they play at Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers are a top 20 team, with a shot at a league title and a pretty good bowl.  They will be strutting their stuff in front of a sea of red in Lincoln.  It will be loud and hostile.

Penn State can handle the loud and hostile part.  They did in a game they should have won at Virginia.  It’s the opponent that’s the problem.

Penn State has played one really good team this year–Ohio State–and one pretty good team–Ohio U.–and lost to both.  In the Ohio State game, the Lions running game was shut down, and the Buckeyes came with blitzes neither the offensive line nor QB Matt McGloin could handle.  I expect the Huskers have seen that tape.

Penn State needs to generate yards on the ground.  Depsite McGloin’s undeniable improvement under Bill O’Brien, he and that line just aren’t good enough to win against a tough defense if the Lions become one dimensional. 

PSU’s defense must play well, too.  Better than it did against the Buckeyes.  It will help if Jordan Hill is able to be at close to full strength.  We’ll have to wait and see.

A win in Lincoln would pave the way for a really good year for this team.  Even a loss still leaves the possibility of an 8-4 year, and that’s not bad in anybody’s book, especially considering the circumstances. 

The team must be competitive, though, to avoid the possibility of a mental letdown at the end of a trying emotional year.

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