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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Penn State vs Nebraska Game Recap: Special Teams Continued Miscues Prove Costly For Nittany Lions Against Cornhuskers



                                                                                    (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


     Despite a valiant all around effort, miscues once again cost Penn State a game. This time it was from a player who had already had his handful (or "footful ) of problems dating back to last season, Sam Ficken. Penn State took a lead late in the 1st Quarter when Freshman QB-TE Duo ( Christian Hackenberg- Adam Breneman) hooked up for a two yard strike to give the Nittany Lions a 6-0 lead. Unfortunately Sam Ficken failed to convert on the Point After Touchdown (PAT) and this miscue would come back to hurt Penn State.


     In the early part of the 3rd Quarter, Penn State regained the lead after a 7 yd. TD Run by Hackenberg, giving the Nittany Lions the lead once again with Ficken this time converting on the PAT. Giving Penn State a 13-7 lead. But that lead however was short lived when Penn State's special teams gave up a 99 yd. TD  return by Kenny Bell on the ensuing kickoff, giving the lead right back to Nebraska 14-13 in favor of the Cornhuskers. Nebraska would tack on a Field Goal (FG) late in the 3rd Quarter and expand its lead to 17-13 heading into the 4th.

     Penn State scored on the very first play of the 4th Quarter after a 46 yard TD strike from Hackenberg to Jesse "The Outlaw James" and, giving Penn State the lead once again 20-17. After some back and forth possessions between the two teams, Nebraska would tie the game late in the fourth quarter which would help set up for overtime (OT), Penn State's third game of the 2013 season to do so.

     Penn State received the ball first to start OT, and could only muster to move the ball 5 yards, setting up a 37 yd. FG Attempt for Sam Ficken. Ficken would end up making another blunder like he did after Penn State scored its first TD of the game when he missed the PAT, and missed the FG attempt. This allowed Nebraska to only need a FG to win the game. Despite initially having a 37 yarder called back due to a false start, Nebraska placekicker (PK) Pat Smith had no trouble converting from another five yards back and connected on a 42 yard FG to give the Cornhuskers the win and improved their overall record to 8-3 (5-2 in Big Ten). With the loss, Penn State fell to 6-5 and now faces the possibility of its first non-winning season since 2004 when they wrap up the season when they travel to Madison on the November 29th to face Wisconsin.


Notes:

Penn State is 2-1 in all three of its OT games this season (All of which were at home; vs Michigan, vs Illinois, vs Nebraska)

For the 2nd straight week Penn State gave up a kickoff return for a TD- Raheem Mostert- Purdue (100 yds.) Kenny Bell- Nebraska ( 99 yds.)

Penn State has now lost four straight versus Nebraska dating back to the 2003 season.


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