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NU Football Practice, 10.30.2012

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini talks with safety Daimion Stafford (3) during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, at Hawks Championship Center.

When Nebraska plays Penn State on Saturday, it will be a battle of one of the worst turnover margin teams in Big Ten play (Nebraska, minus 7) against the best turnover margin team in the Big Ten (Penn State, plus 5.)

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini felt the question was important enough to interrupt the next line of questioning at his Monday news conference to put more emphasis on the importance of turnover margin.

“I think it’s the No. 1 thing that equates to winning and losing,” Pelini said. “We’ve been able to overcome it a few times. It’s something we talk about all the time. If I had a magic wand it would have been fixed a long time ago. We’ve been fortunate to overcome it the past couple of weeks, but we can’t do that all the time.”

The discussion brought back memories of last year’s emotional game in State College, Pa., which came on the heels of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

“It was a crazy time,” Pelini said. “There were a lot of emotions flowing through me that day leading up to that game. For them, I can’t even imagine. It was a unique experience to be a part of.”

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Nebraska won the game 17-14, and getting a win in this year’s contest will be very important for the Huskers to meet their postseason goals. Since losing its first two games, Penn State has gone 6-1, including winning three straight Big Ten road games.

“They have good football players and they hired a good coach (Bill O’Brien),” Pelini said. “I think he’s done a great job. I think the coaching staff has done a great job. That says a lot about how they’ve handled the situation and how they came together. It wasn’t easy."

Pelini said senior running back Rex Burkhead is pushing his rehab (knee) to play Saturday but is still day-to-day. Senior wide receiver Tim Marlowe, who left the Michigan State game several times with a shoulder injury, got Monday off in an effort to get him healthy for Saturday. Junior quarterback Taylor Martinez (ankle) will continue to receive treatment and won’t miss any practice time.

Pelini also confirmed that junior cornerback Antonio Bell is no longer on the roster because of violating team rules.

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

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Darnell graduated from BYU and covered Cougar football for the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, before taking over as sports editor of the Journal Star in 2011.

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