Penn State (6-3) at Nebraska (7-2) (3:30 p.m. ET, on ABC/ESPN 2)
Line: Nebraska -9 (Bovada)
Last Meeting: 2011 (Nebraska 17-14)
3 Players to Watch:
1) Taylor Martinez (QB, Neb):Taylor Martinez was able to lead his team out of East Lansing with a victory. He was able to torch the Spartans on the ground and rushed for 205 yards with 2 touchdowns. Martinez must be better at taking care of the ball as he threw 3 interceptions last week. T-Mart should be able to take advantage of the Penn State defense with his legs, but if they are able to slow him down or hold him under 100 yards rushing Penn State may leave Lincoln winners.
2) Bill Belton (HB, PSU):Belton has been dealing with an ankle injury all year, but there is no doubt that he is the quickest/shiftiest player that Penn State has. The first time I was able to watch Penn State this year I was amazed that a player as shifty as Belton did not transfer away because of the sanctions. Strangely Belton was benched last week, he did not play against Purdue other than one snap. Reports coming out are saying that it has to do with Practice (not the game), but not in a way one would imagine. Apparently Zach Zwinak had a better week of practice than Belton, if Penn State hopes to leave Lincoln happily they better hope Bill Belton has a good week of practice.
3) Kenny Bell (WR, Neb):How many pass interference calls or unnecessary roughness calls will Bell be able to draw this week? Ok, sorry bitter Michigan State fan here, in reality Bell is a great individual who is having a great season thus far. He is leading Nebraska in receiving with 622 yards and 6 touchdowns. Last week he was held to 31 yards, Bell must have a bigger night for Nebraska to win. Penn State has allowed an opposing wide receiver at least 80 yards in the last three games and all signs point to Kenny Bell. Can he step up and continue his great season?
Nebraska has been finding a way to win this year and is currently on a three game win streak. Penn State continues to surprise this season and has been on a roll as well, winning 6 of their last 7 under Bill O’brien. Penn State has been holding opponents to 17.1 points per game, while Nebraska has been averaging 38 point a game. Something has to change, which team will hold to their average?
Penn State must learn from the Michigan State failures of last week and attempt to contain T-Mart. The Spartans attempted to, but allowed too many big gains on the ground. Bill O’brien must prepare his team, if they cannot keep Martinez in check this may be a long day for the Nittany Lions.
For some reason I think that Penn State pulls the win out in Lincoln. Maybe it has been the breaks going recently for Nebraska, maybe it is the Bill O’brien factor? But something is bound to go against the Cornhuskers and Penn State should take advantage of that unlucky bounce. Matt McGloin has been impressive this season and look for him and the Penn State offense to keep up with the high-octane Nebraska offense in a possible barnburner
My pick: Penn State 35, Nebraska 31
Rest of Staff’s Picks:
Andy: Nebraska 31, Penn State 24