Penn State's Zach Zwinak runs for a touchdown past Nebraska's Sean Fisher (42) and Alonzo Whaley (45) in the first half.
Dave Weaver/Associated Press
Penn State's Jesse James scores a touchdown in the first half.
By Mark Dent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
LINCOLN, Neb. -- In the end, whether it was because of a bad call, a porous rushing defense or an offense that didn't quite have enough, Penn State lost Saturday night to Nebraska, 32-23.
One play is certainly going to stand out, about midway through the fourth quarter. Maybe Matt Lehman was in, or maybe he stretched into the end zone just enough before he lost the ball. But the referees ruled it a fumble, and they reviewed it and maintained the call. Nebraska took over the ball and kept its 27-23 lead.
Penn State had led 20-6 going into half, but Nebraska started to come back in the third quarter after a series of events that can be best described as Ohio State-y. The Huskers drove 75 yards on eight plays, scoring on a one-yard Imani Cross run to open the second half.
On Penn State's next possession, Matt McGloin threw an interception to Daimion Stafford, who returned it 22 yards to the four. A couple of plays later, Cross rushed for a two-yard touchdown.
At that point, it was 20-20. After a Sam Ficken field goal, his third of the game, Nebraska threatened to tie or take the lead. Inside the five-yard line, Michael Mauti forced quarterback Taylor Martinez to fumble and Penn State recovered.
But Nebraska scored on its next possession. A 56-yard pass to tight end Kyler Reed led to a five-yard touchdown reception by Jamal Turner, taking the 27-23 lead.
Penn State had its opportunity after the called fumble but had to start on its own two yard line. Nebraska picked up a safety after McGloin was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.
On its next drive, starting on its own 25, Penn State failed to get a first down on four plays. McGloin's fourth and five pass was batted away by Nebraska's Justin Blatchford.