Hello friends! It’s me, the basketball guy. I used to write this piece some time ago, stopped writing these a little later time ago, and am writing this today because why not? On Saturday, November 14, 2020, we shall talk about a game that happened between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Penn State Nittany Lions. The game happened at Memorial Stadium. Such stadium is located in Lincoln, Nebraska. The game started at 11 AM local time (noon eastern), and ended promptly before the afternoon slate started.
This game was great! It had offenses running the ball, it had offenses throwing the ball. It had offenses kicking the ball. It also had defenses standing there and watching offenses run, throw, and kick the ball!* In fact, I’m told that this game even had teams punt the ball! How exhilarating!
Both teams came into this game looking for their first win, and both, to a certain degree, have seen their seasons turn disastrous in a hurry after having so much hope before each one began. Unlike the Nittany Lions, however, the Huskers were spared a potential beat down at the hands of covid-plagued Wisconsin, which makes their winless season so far seem less drastic than Penn State’s. Regardless, this is not the kind of position either team wanted to be in at this point in the year.
In desperation mode, both team made some personnel changes. Nebraska’s personnel changes paid dividends in the first half, and Penn State’s came through in the second. The Lions did little to mitigate the woefulness on both offense and defense, and Nebraska’s change at quarterback is just the spark they needed get themselves going. Two turnovers by Sean Clifford spotted the Huskers 14 points, and suddenly, the Nittany Lions found themselves down 27-6 before half time. Franklin, having finally, and mercifully seen enough, pulled Clifford out for Will Levis, which brought the spark they needed to make a comeback.
It’s been four games, and the script remains the same. The Nittany Lions waste the first half getting themselves in a hole that requires miraculous second-half play to get out of. Some halftime adjustments are made, but it’s too little too late when you spot the winning team a double-digit lead early. Trying to dissect why this is happening is a futile attempt, so let’s not bother trying. This is who Penn State is this year, and the sooner we can get this clown show of a season over, the better.
There’s little to be gained from this game in particular, but there is something that’s become quite apparent four games in: The pandemic alone is not an excuse, and changes need to be made before next season. A team as talented as Penn State should not be in this position, no matter what’s going on outside the locker room.
*Penn State in the first half, Nebraska in the second.