Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.


Nebraska managed only 2 rushing yards in the first quarter as it quickly became evident the Huskers would have to lean hard on quarterback Tanner Lee. At halftime, the Huskers' top two tailbacks had eight carries for 12 yards, and NU trailed 42-10. Give NU some credit for getting the ground game going a bit in the second half.


Lee made two excellent throws — to JD Spielman and Stanley Morgan, respectively — to put Nebraska in position for its first touchdown. But with Nebraska's run game sputtering, Penn State often teed off on Lee. He was only 7-of-19 at halftime for 72 yards, but picked up steam in the second half and finished 26-for-41 for 399 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the final 6½ minutes.


Saquon Barkley's 65-touchdown run to begin the game was accomplished with far too much ease. Then again, we've come to expect such ineptitude from this defense. The Nittany Lions had 120 rushing yards by the end of the first quarter. Barkley had 14 carries for 142 yards and three touchdowns by halftime. Egad. PSU ended up with 263 rushing yards — on a whopping 7.5 per carry.


Some poor tackling by Nebraska defensive backs Lamar Jackson and Joshua Kalu led to a 43-yard gain on a pass over the middle to Juwan Johnson, setting up Penn State's second touchdown. By the second quarter, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley had found a rhythm and it became evident Nebraska was in deep trouble. At the end of three quarters, he was 24-for-36 for 325 yards and three touchdowns.


Caleb Lightbourn boomed punts, including a few amid a heavy rush, and Jaylin Bradley showed promise on kickoff returns. In addition, Nebraska recovered an onside kick to set up its final score. NU caught a break when its first punt ricocheted off a Penn State player. Marquel Dismuke popped up with the ball at the Nittany Lions' 34-yard line. Nebraska, though, could muster only a field goal on the ensuing series. However, following PSU's shanked punt in the first quarter, Nebraska drove 36 yards in three plays for a TD.


Nebraska picked a bad time to be extremely sloppy in terms of penalties, finishing with nine for 89 yards. David Knevel, starting for the first time on the offensive line since the opener, was whistled for a false start on the first series. Mick Stoltenberg's defensive holding early in the second quarter occurred as Penn State was taking control of the game. Carlos Davis' roughing-the-passer penalty occurred one play before PSU went up 28-10. On and on. It's been a season-long issue.


Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf's hands were tied by a run game that was virtually nonexistent until it was far too late. Langsdorf and Lee obviously have some chemistry.


Perhaps Nebraska would surprise us and put a serious scare into the home team. Why is that too much to ask? Then again, you know the answer.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


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