Saquon has been in a bit of a rut since the second half of Ohio State and this feels like it could be a breakout game for him. In an effort to save his job, Mike Riley made the peculiar decision to hire Bob Diaco. Not that the decision itself was peculiar, Diaco was successful as the DC at Notre Dame before a doomed stint as the head coach at UConn, however, he employs a 3-4 scheme which Nebraska does not have the personnel to effectively switch from their traditional 4-3. Diaco certainly did not help his cause delaying an unveiling of the new scheme in the spring. Trace and Miles may put up healthy numbers as well.
Penn State 52, Nebraska 13
I was mostly correct last week - the team's heart just wasn't in the game, and Rutgers came out firing. The more talented team was able to pull away, but it never seemed like they truly cared about the game. Perhaps being put back in the top 10 will boost their spirits this week.
I expect a similar game result this week, but with slightly different methodology. While Rutgers' offense wasn't particularly good, their defense did an excellent job stymieing Barkley, and kept the Lions to ONLY 35 points. I expect this game to be more high-scoring, as Nebraska can sling the ball when needed - and suddenly the Nittany Lion defense can't defend the pass very well. The flip side is that Nebraska's defense is terrible, and one could sense Barkley's frustration last week - I'm expecting him to take some of that angst out on a not-good defense in his last game at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State 49, Nebraska 24
Penn State has some momentum back and will start off strong against the Cornhuskers. Look for lots of Barkley and lots of scores since Nebraska's defense is so mismatched with Penn State’s offense, but don't expect it to be scoreless for Nebraska.
Penn State 42, Nebraska 13
Nebraska is pretty terrible, it's the last time in Beaver Stadium for the seniors and probably the last time in Beaver Stadium for Saquon Barkley. I think you could see an inspired performance from the offensive line against one of the worst defensive front sevens in power five football and Barkley could put on a show en route to a 200-yard game.
Penn State 41, Nebraska 10
I'll continue the trend. This is the game that the Penn State running attack gets going, especially Saquon Barkley.
Penn State 45, Nebraska 14
After what Minnesota did to Nebraska, a lot of fans think that Saquon Barkley will have another 100-yard rushing game this weekend. That's despite the fact that he has just three such games this season and that he recorded only 55 yards from scrimmage against Rutgers last Saturday. Running the ball doesn't come easy for these Lions, and I'm not sure that a Nebraska team that has "given up" is the cure. However, Penn State is still a better team playing at home, so I expect it to pull away in the second half after Nebraska's passing offense scores a couple of touchdowns in the first half.
Penn State 35, Nebraska 14
Giving up 54 points to Minnesota last week was a clear indication that the Nebraska players have thrown in the towel on the season. The likely ugly weather (cold, windy, and rainy) may prevent PSU from boat racing the Huskers by the near four-touchdown margin Vegas is favoring them, but don't expect the Blackshirts defense to suddenly live up to their namesake. Saquon Barkley goes over 100 yards rushing for the first time since the Michigan game and garners a couple of TD's, while Trace McSorley tosses a pair of TD's and rushes for another. Nebraska's Tanner Lee should be good for throwing for a couple of TD's both to his own teammates, and to the guys in the blue jerseys (Lee has 13 interceptions on the season).
Penn State 35, Nebraska 14
In the preceding 5 games, the only squad who failed to rush for 200+ yards against Nebraska was Purdue. The Boilermakers rushed 38 times for 199. That's 5.24 ypc.
Minnesota - a terrible team - just went for 409 yards and 6 TDs on the ground last Saturday, nearly averaging a first down on every hand-off (9.09 ypc).
If you harbor any hope of becoming a conference bully in future seasons, Dear Old State, then start by kicking the snot out of this weakling on Saturday. The Huskers quit 6 weeks ago. They won't fight back for more than 10 minutes. So gather all of your "take what they give us", "scheme", and "injury" excuses, put them into a cute little gift bag, and put a flame thrower to them. There are no excuses this week. Buckle your chin strap, put on your big boy pants, and run the stupid ball. Please and thank you.
Penn State 49, Nebraska 13
Penn State likely got over its slump against Rutgers last week, so this week will be business as usual for the Nittany Lions. As has been the case all season, Nebraska will try to do everything in its power to stop Saquon Barkley, even if it means Trace McSorley and the rest of the cast torches them for an infinite number of yards and points.
However, unlike Aaron above, I do think the Cornhuskers have given up. Their season is already down the drain, and they have to know deep down inside that their coach won’t be there come season’s end. They will be unable to do what other teams have so easily done before. Combine that with this likely being Saquon Barkley’s last game at Beaver Stadium, and...
Penn State 59, Nebraska 7
(originally appearing on PennLive)
This was not the way most thought the previews would go; Nebraska is a storied program, not accustomed to losing. Yet here they are, on the verge of not going to a bowl game, led by a lame duck coach in all but name. Penn State, on the other hand, is top ten again, finally getting over the lull it found itself in for a few weeks. The last few games are statements for Franklin and Co—and they’ll make them count.
PLAYER ON THE SPOT: Saquon Barkley. The player near the top of everyone’s draft list has had a series of subpar games statistically as opposing defenses are selling out to stop him—but Barkley has an opportunity to jump back to the top of Heisman ballots against a subpar Nebraska defense. They’ll undoubtedly focus their defensive efforts on stopping number 26 at all costs; how will he respond?
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF… the Lions build on last week’s win over Rutgers and come out more dominating than we’ve seen in near a month.
PREDICTION: Pain. Weather may be a factor in this game, but the Huskers are a team in the middle of imploding. PSU is talented and well coached, and they should roll in a game most looked at preseason as a more marquee matchup than it turns out to be. Penn State 42, Nebraska 13 with the sole Huskers touchdown coming against the third string Nittany Lion D.
Penn State 42, Nebraska 13
My initial thoughts were that this could be a shootout of sorts, with Nebraska moving the ball through the air setting up a back-and-forth affair until Penn State's penchant for creating turnovers did the 'Huskers in. But with Tanner Lee expected to be out on Saturday, I don't believe an unproven freshman quarterback will be able to carry the load considering Nebraska's inability to run the ball and Penn State's abilities to make offenses one-sided when they don't have plenty of firepower.
Penn State will come out hungry, playing motivated football from start to finish. The weather may put a damper on things, but Penn State will want to send their seniors out on a high note, as the team earns its ninth victory of the season and inches towards a New Year's Six bowl game.
With another opponent selling out to shut down Barkley, McSorley has a huge day, tossing four touchdowns to players in their last game in Beaver Stadium- two to DaeSean Hamilton, and one apiece to Mike Gesicki, as well as one final circus touchdown grab for the somewhat-forgotten Saeed Blacknell. Despite their best efforts, Barkley still cuts loose for a 60-yard touchdown run. On defense, Jason Cabinda has a sack and 11 tackles, while Tariq Castro Fields shows what's to come with an interception deep in Nebraska territory.
Penn State 42, Nebraska 10