Report Card: Nebraska at Penn State

2013-11-23T21:30:00Z 2015-05-26T15:56:24Z Report Card: Nebraska at Penn StateBy DARNELL DICKSON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

RUNNING GAME (B)

Ameer Abdullah (25 carries, 147 yards) found running tougher in the second half but still managed to bust a big run that allowed the Huskers to tie the game at 20. His 62-yard scoring run was called back because of a personal foul on Sam Burtch, but Nebraska still got a field goal out of it. Abdullah fumbled on a goal-line play earlier in the game. The Huskers finished with 168 yards on the ground, not great but considering all the injuries on the offensive line, not bad.

PASSING GAME (C)

Ron Kellogg replaced Tommy Armstrong at quarterback at the end of the first quarter and threw the ball well. He struggled in the second half to find the same consistency, but the quarterback shuffle worked this time. Nebraska’s offense needed a boost from somewhere. Jordan Westerkamp was Kellogg’s favorite target with five catches for 62 yards. Not sure I want to see Kellogg carrying the ball so much near the goal line, though.

AGAINST THE RUN (C)

Penn State’s Zach Zwinak is a load, and he went for 149 yards on 35 carries. It was puzzling to see Zwinak, early in the game, patiently picking his hole while the Nebraska defense struggled to play off blocks. When the Huskers won first down, they generally shut down the Penn State offense.

AGAINST THE PASS (C)

Allen Robinson is one of the Big Ten’s best receivers, and he had eight catches for 106 yards. Nebraska had a hard time when Christian Hackenberg used the bootleg action to get outside the pocket. Late in the game at a crucial time, Randy Gregory finally got some pressure on the play and Stanley Jean-Baptiste had great coverage on Robinson. There were a few busted coverage issues, too.

SPECIAL TEAMS (B)

I swear on a couple of Penn State punts the Nebraska players were simply not blocking anyone, leaving Jordan Westerkamp to fend for himself on the return. But it was a pretty good game for the Husker special teams. Kenny Bell had the kickoff return for a score and Brandon Reilly blocked a Penn State punt. Sam Foltz had a great game punting for Nebraska. He averaged 46 yards on eight punts, including three that were more than 50 yards. He also stuck four inside the 20-yard line and one that was touched down at the 1.

GAME MANAGEMENT (C)

Making the move from Armstrong to Kellogg turned out to be a good one. Kellogg got the offense untracked and got the receivers more involved. I’m not sure about the wisdom of trying to score late in the game when the safe move would have been to take a knee and go to overtime. That whole sequence in the last few minutes had to have Husker fans screaming at their TV sets.

PLAY CALLING (B)

I like the play call that got the Huskers out of their own end zone late in the game. On third-and-long from inside his own 1-yard line, Kellogg threw deep to Quincy Enunwa and Penn State was flagged for pass interference. The run-pass mix with Kellogg in the game seemed to work pretty well. I would like to see Enunwa more involved earlier in the game. He seems to have disappeared through much of the past two games.

OVERALL (B)

This was a pretty gutty win by Nebraska. The weather was awful and there was plenty of adversity. The Huskers could have folded, but they came back and found a way to win. A victory on the road in the Big Ten is always good. Going into next week, Nebraska has a shot at a nine-win regular season. Considering the youth on defense and all the injuries on offense, nine wins has to look pretty good.

Reach Sports Editor Darnell Dickson at ddickson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7320.

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