#PSUvsNEB: Cornhuskers topple Lions 23-20

Special teams struggles cripple Lions in three-point overtime defeat.

Penn State (6-4, 3-3) takes on Nebraska (7-3, 4-2) in the Nittany Lions' home finale at Beaver Stadium Saturday. And that means it is Senior Day for for PSU.

Keep up to speed with the game action right there. And we will convert this into a quick game recap as soon as the action in complete.

PREGAME: Temperatures are in the high 30s. There is some wind and it is sunny with patches of clouds. … KR/DB Von Walker is in street clothes. … Starting RB Bill Belton is out due to illness.

For the first 10 minutes of the first quarter at a cold and windy Beaver Stadium, neither Penn State nor Nebraska could generate much offense. But State flicked the offensive switch first, and leads 6-0 at the end of one.

The lead came courtesy of a Christian Hackenberg two-yard touchdown strike to Adam Breneman, who began the play blocking but later created separation away from the line of scrimmage. The drive was set-up by a Jesse Della Valle 25-yard punt return, which gave the Lions their best field position of the day.

Penn State has used a steady dose of Zach Zwinak in the first 15 minutes, as he's carried 12 times for 64 yards. Allen Robinson has two grabs for 13 yards to lead Penn State's receiving corps, while Hackenberg has targeted receivers to the tune of 4 of 7 for 20 yards and a score. For Nebraska, it has used both Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellog III, but the former started and played most, throwing twice for a yard. Star back Ameer Abdullah has five carries for 37 yards.

The Cornhuskers are driving to start the second quarter.


It's still cold at Beaver Stadium, and along with the weather, the Lions offense is stuck in a freeze, too. Nebraska leads 7-6 at halftime, and Penn State will get the ball to start the second half.

The visitors struck moments into the second stanza, as Kellogg III replaced Armstrong and led Nebraska on a seven play, 91-yard drive capped by a 27-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enuwa. Kellogg III later drove the Cornhuskers 48 yards on nine plays, but that drive ended when Malcolm Willis forced the first fumble of career by stripping Abdullah at the goal line. The ball was promptly corralled by Jesse Della Valle.

Besides the touchdown, Penn State has punted its six other drives, while Nebraska has punted five times itself. The visitors are outgaining State by a 198-159 yards count, led by 113 yards passing yards from Kellogg and 69 rushing yards from Abdullah. For the Lions, Hackenberg is 10 of 19 for 80 yards and a score, Zwinak has 68 yards on 14 carries, and Robinson has a game-high four catches for 37 yards.


The ugliness continued for Penn State to open the second half, but the Lions did score. Still, they trail 14-13 to visiting Nebraska with a quarter to play.

State was again gashed by a kick return for the second time in as many weeks, as Kenny Bell's 99-yard kick off return negated a Hackenberg seven-yard bootleg scamper that briefly gave the Lions the lead back. Nebraska tacked on a 39-yard field goal from Pat Smith to close the quarter, and with the ball back, State has entered Nebraska territory with a long catch and run Kyle Carter followed by a pair of Zwinak runs. The ball is spotted at the Nebraska 46 to start the final frame.

Hackenberg is 13 of 26 for 147 yards, throwing his first interception of the night in the third quarter when a forced throw found the hands of Nebraska's Ciante Evans. Zwinak has broken the 100 yard mark with 109 yards on 26 carries, while Robinson is up to 82 yards on six catches.


When Jesse James caught a roughly six yard pass and ran the other 40 yards for a score that put Penn State up 20-17 with 4:30 to play, it appeared another Senior Day victory would be in the Lions' grasp.

It was not to be on this day, though, as Nebraska's Pat Smith drilled a 39-yard field goal with 1:11 left to send the game to overtime, before connecting on a 42-yard try after Sam Ficken missed his own 37-yard field goal to give the Cornhuskers a 23-20 overtime victory.

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