"If you are ever on our bench or around our sideline, all we keep saying to them is keeping fighting," said Papuchis. "When you do that, you at least give yourself an opportunity to get back into games. I don't think it's an accident where we are this situation again and find a way to win. Some people call it luck that we always seem to come out ahead in these close games, but I think there is more to it."
The Blackshirt defense held Penn State to just 2-of-14 on third downs, a product Papuchis said came earlier in the downs.
"When you win first down, you have a chance to get off the field," said Papuchis. "Second and ten is in your favor. When they were driving the ball by running, eventually on some first down we bowed up. When it would go to second and ten and third and long, that's when we are in our wheelhouse…the telling stat is first success."
Nebraska will look to continue that defensive success on third down against Iowa this week. The Hawkeyes run a very similar offense as Penn State.
Kellogg does it again.
If you would have told Ron Kellogg III going into the year his name would be marked in Husker history forever, he probably wouldn't have believed you. But in just a few weeks, the former walk-on has etched his name into memory banks – and not just for the Hail Mary toss.
Kellogg's efforts against Penn State on the road were gutsy. Called upon after Tommy Armstrong tweaked his ankle, Kellogg gave it his all for a victory, admitting he felt like he had been in a car wreck after taking a few hits during the contest.
"It just shows that whether you're a walk-on or scholarship guy, if you work hard and put forth the time and effort to understand the schemes on offense or defense, it's up to you whether you want to play or not," said Kellogg. "I easily could have taken a different route and either left or quit playing football, but it's something I love to do and have a passion for."
The former senior walk-on also has a passion for getting first downs, even if he has to do it on the ground.
"I'm not as fast as some people would want me to be, but I don't care as long as I'm getting a first down or positive yards," said Kellogg. "That's A-OK in my book. Even after the hit against Penn State, I'm still probably going to run the football. I know everyone was scared, including my mom, but that's not going to deter me from seeking success for the offense."
Could this be the last one for Abdullah?
While a total of 26 players will be honored during Nebraska's senior day on Friday (3 of those include players who are leaving program for medical reasons), junior running back Ameer Abdullah won't be one of them. But, the Doak Walker candidate was asked on Monday if this could be his last contest in Memorial.
"No, I really haven't given it much thought," said Abdullah. "To me, that's a really big jump. I haven't really given it much thought."
In 11 games, Abdullah has rushed for 1,483 yards on 231 carries, good for sixth in the country and first in the Big Ten. Less than 100 yards behind him is Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who quietly has a friendly rivalry going with Abdullah.
"Melvin has had a rough last few games and hasn't gotten as many carries, but he is still effective," said Abdullah. "Wisconsin has a really good backfield with James White or (Melvin). So, any week it could be him or James White getting the load. It just so happens the last three or four weeks it's been James White. But Melvin, he is having a good year and will continue to work hard and so will James White. But Melvin is one of my best friends and we talk all the time, so hopefully I can get him. We were roommates at an All-American Bowl out of high school."