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2012 College Football Week 11 Breakdown: Penn State vs. Nebraska

The staff here at Nittany Lions Den has a bit of a mixed opinion on this week's game, with Penn State looking to continue their road dominance in Big Ten play at Nebraska.Can Penn State improve to 4-0 on the road in Big Ten games before returning home to wrap up the 2012 season at home, keeping their Leaders Division championship scenarios in play? Or will Nebraska prove to be too much for Penn State this week and send them back home with a loss?

Here is how we are going on record with this week's game. Feel free to add your thought sin the comments section as well.

Marty Valania: I don’t feel the buzz around this game like I figured a Penn State-Nebraska game would normally generate. I guess Sandy and the election will do that. Nevertheless, this is a huge game for both teams. Nebraska can stay on track for a berth in the Big 10 championship game and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Penn State can get a signature win on the season and really put it on track to win nine games – an incredible feat.

The weather is supposed to be awesome with temperatures in the mid-70s. The stadium atmosphere should be excellent in Lincoln as well so it will feel like that coveted bowl game.

The Lions have been awesome on the road in conference play and will need another superior effort if they hope to hang with the Huskers. Matt McGloin will have to have another big game – certainly a better one than he had against the Buckeyes.

Taylor Martinez is a difference maker and Penn State will have to do a better job against him than it did against Ohio State’s Braxton Miller. That will be the key to the game.

Expect a decent amount of points and a close game.

Penn State 28, Nebraska 24.

Ryan Murphy: As someone who lives in Kenya, I am extremely pumped to say that I'll be going to a Penn State game this week. The fact that it's in Nebraska--in a stadium that has featured sell-out crowds for the past 40 (yes, 40) years--and features two top-40 teams and has Big Ten title race implications and... well, let's just say, I'm on cloud 9. When it comes to analyzing this game, I think it's a toss-up. It will probably come down to turnovers. Nebraska makes their fair share of them, while Penn State has not. Except against Ohio State, the Lions' best opponent to date.

Count Nebraska as Penn State's second-best opponent to date. If McGloin gets the interception bug again--which he's prone to do in key spots--Penn State probably loses by 10, like it did against Ohio State. If McGloin plays efficiently and intelligently and Martinez plays the part of the bumbling signal caller--which he's been known to do at times--then I think Penn State could win by 10. Nebraska has come up on the lucky side of some close games this season, but I'm calling for their luck to run out. Maybe their high ranking, their role as favorites, and their Rose Bowl dreams will distract them from a solid Nittany Lion foe. Give me PSU 30-27 in a back-and-forth win that clinches O'Brien as college football's coach of the year.

Penn State 30, Nebraska 27

Derek Aschman: Let me start off by saying two things: 

  1. If Jordan Hill doesn't play, Nebraska wins big
  2. I think Jordan Hill will play

Coming into this Week 11 match-up, Penn State has played its best football on the road. However, the Nittany Lions have not faced a road test quite like the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who are 5-0 and averaging more than 43 ppg in Memorial Stadium. Taylor Martinez has found some touch recently and is tied with McGloin for the most TD passes in the Big Ten at 18, while the rest of the offense has been rolling in their past three wins over Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State.

On the other side of the ball, the Cornhuskers’ defense has allowed more than 25 ppg – most of which came from opponents’ rushing attacks. If Penn State is to win this game, it will need to have one of its most productive ground games to date.

For those who follow me on Twitter, you know I’m 8-1 on picks this season with my sole inaccuracy being Northwestern over Penn State by six. Well, I hope to become 8-2 this week as I’m going to pick the Cornhuskers. I think Martinez poses too much of a passing threat when Penn State loads the box to stop the run, while McGloin makes a few mistakes against a good defense in a hostile environment.  

Nebraska 27, Penn State 25

Michael Renahan: Another opportunity has arisen for Penn State to make a statement this weekend when they head to Lincoln Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers. Coming off a nice win against a feeble Purdue Team, the confidence has to be extremely high for the Nittany Lions. On the injury front, Bill O’Brien has said Jordan Hill and Kyle Carter are both day to day should make this game a little harder for Penn State. Nebraska signal caller Taylor Martinez has been lighting it up in 2012, throwing for 18 touchdowns and rushing for 8 more. He has tossed 8 interceptions this year, which presents a great opportunity for this Penn State defense. Penn State needs to continue what made them so successful last week. The balanced offensive attack featuring multiple receivers and backs will create a problem for this Cornhusker defense. If Zach Zwinak can have another game similar to last week, I like Penn State a lot.

Penn State 31, Nebraska 24

Kevin McGuire: Nebraska will look to keep their Rose Bowl hopes in sight when they take on a Penn State team that has been dominant on the road in conference play this season. Of course, Penn State has not faced a quality opponent on the road like this in Big Ten play. Taylor Martinez will be the difference maker in this game, one way or the other. Look for Penn State to keep Martinez in check on the ground, forcing him to be consistent in the passing game. If Martinez can avoid turning the football over, Nebraska should be able to pull off a tough home victory.

Nebraska 24, Penn State 20

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