Nebraska vs. Minnesota, 11/11/17

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (13) throws a pass as Minnesota defensive end Nate Umlor closes in during the first half Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star

Tanner Lee has a chance to play against No. 10 Penn State after all. 

The redshirt junior, who has started all 10 games this season for the Huskers, is progressing through the concussion protocol after suffering a second-quarter injury against Minnesota last week, and NU head coach Mike Riley said he's nearing a medical clearance. 

"He's actually going through the protocol and if he does not have a setback as of today — if everything checks out OK after this practice, heading into tomorrow's walkthrough — he will be cleared to play," Riley said Thursday.  

Riley added that the team has not yet decided what a late clearance for Lee would mean in terms of playing time between Lee and redshirt freshman Patrick O'Brien. 

"We're going to talk about it," Riley said. 

O'Brien took all the No. 1 repetitions on Monday and Tuesday, then he and Lee split them Wednesday and Thursday. Lee was able to watch practice early in the week before being cleared to begin participating. 

"Everything has really been smooth," Riley said. "There have been no glitches. … (Lee)'s been around the whole time and he's basically been in tune with the game plan. Whatever the doctors have allowed him to do, he's done it, and it's been pretty seamless." 

Would the Huskers really start O'Brien over Lee if both are available? 

"The first thing we have to do is check with the medical and make sure that through today and into tomorrow we make sure he's cleared before we make any definitive statement on it," Riley said. "It's one of those things that you just can't be too quick to say, 'OK, he looks good, he's back in,' and then I go out of here and the doctors say no. It's just better to wait." 

Lee has thrown for 2,539 yards, 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season. O'Brien was 12-of-18 for 127 yards in the second half against the Gophers. 

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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