Nebraska football vs. Penn State preview

nebraska football

0-5. That is the combined record of Nebraska football and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Who would have guessed at this point in the season a depleted Penn State team would come limping into Lincoln, Nebraska at 0-3. At noon ET on FOX, the Huskers and Nittany Lions will meet for only the fifth time since Nebraska joined the Big Ten. Nebraska owns the all-time record at 9-8. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season, so who will come out on top?

When Penn State has the ball

Penn State opened the season with three-straight losses for the first time since 2001. The Nittany Lions started the season out with a 36-35 overtime loss to Indiana. They then went on to suffer a 13-point defeat to Ohio State and just last weekend were blow out by Maryland 35-19.

Journey Brown, who recently retired from football due to health concerns and Noah Cain who was lost to injury, has put a large amount of the workload on running back Devyn Ford. Ford has performed about as well as he could given the Nittany Lions current circumstances, rushing for a total of 141-yards and one touchdown.

Sean Clifford will be the deciding factor on whether or not Penn State leaves with a win. Against Maryland, Clifford completed 27 of 57 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He has 859 yards on the season. With six interceptions on the season, Clifford’s decision-making skills will be tested. Just last week the Huskers intercepted two balls against Northwestern.

Maryland was a low point on the season, but against two top-10 teams in Indiana and Ohio State, the junior quarterback showed he can hang with the best.

When Nebraska has the ball

The No. 1 question heading into this week is who will start at quarterback? Adrian Martinez showed signs of freshman self against Ohio State. Against Northwestern, Martinez went 12 for 27 passing with one interception. The leash for Martinez is getting shorter and shorter by the day. If he starts against the Nittany Lions and makes mistakes early expect Luke McCaffrey to lead this Huskers offense.

McCaffrey has a 76.2% completion percentage on the season. If the reigns are passed his way don’t expect this Huskers offense to miss a beat.

The Huskers have struggled on offense this year, tying for last in the Big Ten for worse scoring offense. The main issues plaguing the Cornhuskers has been getting playmakers the ball specifically wide receiver Wandale Robinson, who has only touched the ball 10 times this season. Robinson is an unbelievable talent and if the Huskers hope to pull out a W, getting him the ball is a must.

The Nebraska football receiver room is loaded with talent. The Huskers have the capability to give Penn State its fourth loss of the season, but it will depend upon who shows up at quarterback.

Final thoughts

With both teams vying for a win, it is sure to be a competitive contest. An 0-4 start would not look good for James Franklin, who might be sitting atop a possible hot seat. Nebraska football fans have been very patient with head coach Scott Frost, yet they have made one thing very clear. There needs to be improvement, and a win over Penn State would be a step in the right direction.

Photo by The Daily Nebraskan