No. 10 Penn State (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) vs. Nebraska (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten)
Beaver Stadium, State College, Pennsylvania
Saturday, 4 p.m., FS1
Scouting Penn State
The 10th-ranked Nittany Lions drubbed Rutgers, 35-6, last week, as Trace McSorley threw for two touchdowns and ran for one. Saquon Barkley also rushed for two scores, but was limited to a season-low 35 yards on 14 attempts. Barkley, second in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (184.6), needs 101 yards on the ground for his third straight 1,000-yard season. He also leads the Big Ten with 16 touchdowns, and last week became PSU’s all-time leader in all-purpose yardage (5,055). Linebacker Manny Bowen will be held out of his second straight game for what coach James Franklin said was a violation of a team rule, but Franklin hinted Tuesday that offensive tackle Ryan Bates (Archbishop Wood) and defensive end Ryan Buchholz (Great Valley) might be available. Both suffered undisclosed leg injuries against Ohio State on Oct. 28 and have missed the last two games.
Things are falling apart for the Cornhuskers, who have dropped four of their last five games. Coach Mike Riley appears likely to be fired at season’s end, and quarterback Tanner Lee suffered a head injury in last week’s 54-21 loss to Minnesota, leading to his placement in the concussion protocol. If he can’t play, freshman Patrick O’Brien will get the start. He has gone 18 of 30 for 192 yards in limited action this year, without a touchdown pass. He has been intercepted once. He has two solid receivers in JD Spielman (49 catches, 734 yards, two touchdowns) and Stanley Morgan (47-727-7), but the Huskers are 13th in the 14-team Big Ten in rushing offense (115.6 yards per game). Nebraska is also last in the conference in rushing defense (200.1), and next-to-last in scoring defense (32.5) and total defense (412.0).
Nebraska leads the all-time series, 9-7, and has won the last four meetings, including a 23-20 overtime victory in 2013. The teams haven’t squared off since.
Storyline to watch
Once again, the Lions will try to solve an eminently solvable run defense. They have managed just 256 yards on the ground in their last three games, on 87 attempts (2.9 per try), and are just ninth in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 146 yards a game.
What's at stake
The Lions will honor 23 seniors beforehand. They will also try to remain in the hunt for a New Year’s Day bowl.
Penn State 42, Nebraska 17