Saturday, November 12, 2011
Halftime: Nebraska 10, Penn State 0
By Brian Bennett
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Quick halftime analysis from Beaver Stadium, where Nebraska leads Penn State 10-0:
Turning point: After a listless offensive first quarter that was too pass-heavy, Nebraska started to get going with its option attack in the second period. That loosened the stingy Penn State defense, and quarterback Taylor Martinez started hitting open receivers. A pass interference call on safety Nick Sukay when the Huskers had third-and-9 from the Nittany Lions' 14 led to the game's only touchdown late in the half. Given how much Penn State's offense struggles, the 10-point lead is bigger than it seems.
Stat of the half: After starting just 2-for-8, Martinez completed 7 of 9 passes in the second quarter for 81 yards.
Best player in the half: Though his team is trailing, Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still is showing why he's the favorite to win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. He's been nearly unblockable and is a constant presence in the backfield. He's a big reason Nebraska is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
What Penn State needs to do: Get the running game going. Silas Redd had some nice gains but appeared to aggravate the shoulder stinger that's been bothering him. It's hard for the Lions to win when they have to rely so heavily on the passing game.
What Nebraska needs to do: Remain disciplined on defense. Penn State is not a big-play offense, so just minding assignments and being tough up front is helping the Huskers pitch a shutout. Offensively, keep using the option game, drain some clock and get out of here with the win should be the goals.