Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/13/11

As the final seconds ticked off on the 2011 Penn State seniors’ home careers at Beaver Stadium with Penn State down 17-14, one couldn’t help but think that this could be the worst week in Penn State history.

Then the clock hit all zeroes, and those fears were confirmed. The Lions capped a tumultuous week to say the least by losing their first Big Ten game of the seas0n, dropping their record to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in conference. Despite the loss, the Lions still control their own destiny in the Leaders division of the Big Ten. If the Lions manage to win their final two games, both on the road at Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Lions will play in the inaugural Big Ten Ttile game in Indianapolis in early December.

While the Lions still control their own destiny, Saturday’s loss at the hands of Nebraska (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) didn’t help things. The Cornhuskers controlled the first half, running out to a 10-0 lead at halftime. Rex Burkhead’s 14-yard touchdown run shortly after intermission gave the Husker’s a 17-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, despite a rally from senior tailback Stephfon Green and the Penn State offense.

Green scampered for touchdown’s of five and six yards, with the six-yarder putting the Lions within a field goal with five minutes left on the clock. On the ensuing Huskers possession, the Lions defense came up with a huge stop, giving their offense the ball back with a chance to drive for the game-tying score. But that’s as far as they would get, as Green and Silas Redd were both stopped on third-and-one and fourth-and-one respectively as the Lions turned the ball over on downs with 1:58 left in the game.

But Penn State’s magnificent defense did what it had all season, keep making plays. Following the turnover on downs, the defense buckled down and forced a Huskers punt, leaving McGloin and the offense one last chance with 49 seconds left, but no timeouts.

But the offense, as it has many times this season, sputtered and couldn’t cross midfield. The final result was McGloin running for his life and throwing a ball at the feet of receiver Justin Brown as time expired.

Huskers tailback Rex Burkhead celebrates a third-quarter touchdown with teammates.

Nebraska tailback Rex Burkhead was a thorn in the Lions’ side all day, rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Taylor Martinez passed for 143 yards and added 56 on the ground on 19 carries for the Huskers.

McGloin was 16 of 34 passing for 193 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. Green led the Lions rushing attack with 71 yards on 17 carries and the two touchdowns. Sophomore Silas Redd was held under 100 yards for the first time in five games, he had 53 yards on 15 carries and no scores.

Lions senior wide receiver Derek Moye, playing in his final home game at Beaver Stadium, paced Lions receivers with four catches for 78 yards.

Game Ball (s) : 

  • Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska: Burkhead ran through a stout Lion defense all day with more than 120 yards rushing and a touchdown. The junior helped wear down the Nittany Lion defense and way a key cog in all three Husker scoring drives.
  • Tom Bradley, coach, Penn State: Nobody could have prepared the team for what that game was going to be like. It’s a testament to Bradley’s ability to have a team prepared for a game after the tumultuous week it had. Kudos to Bradley big time.
Looking ahead: 
  • Penn State will drop from No.12 in the BCS rankings and faces a tough road test at Ohio State, Penn State has won just once in Columbus since 1980 (2008). The Buckeyes have responded from a rough start after their own off the field problems. Should be a great matchup in the Horseshoe next week.
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