Somebody Will Win Their First Game on Saturday… Will It Be Penn State?
If you told someone in 1994, that 26 years later, Penn State and Nebraska would face off, winless, in the middle of November, I don’t think they would have words to understand the situation. In addition, that the Nebraska home opener would be on November 14th? No way, right? But, that is the situation we have on our hands this weekend. Someone is getting their first win this Saturday, no matter how ugly it has been for both teams this season.
Penn State lost a heartbreaker to now #10 Indiana in the opener, followed by two uninspired performances against #3 Ohio State and 2-1 Maryland.
Nebraska took their L to the Buckeyes in Columbus, 52-17, then had their match-up against Wisconsin cancelled due to Coronavirus cases within the Wisconsin football program. But, they then hit the road again and lost 21-13 to surprising undefeated Northwestern.
So, after challenging starts to the season for both historically branded programs, one fan base will be a little less upset than the other on Saturday. Who will it be? The For The Glory team will try to give the answer!
Cory Lestochi (1-2)
I was invited onto the Cornhuskers Cuz Cast to talk Penn State-Nebraska and I got a feeling for what the Nebraska fan base thinks of our beloved Nittany Lions. They think we suck. They think they can run the ball all over us and they think if Maryland got 7 sacks last week they should be able to easily reach a similar number.
The saddest part? It’s hard not to blame them.
That being said, I feel the Nittany Lions going on the road is really good for a team that has a lot to figure out on their own. Do a little ME time. Potentially, Penn State could win in a blowout based on talent. Rain in the forecast and an early start along with all of the other issues we’ve faced and this game will be close. Keep an eye on the QB situation for Nebraska and lookout for Wan’Dale Robinson.
Penn State: 28
Brandon Musso (1-2)
I have to say that I never thought Penn State would be 0-3 heading into this game but here we are and my confidence isn’t too high. The Nittany Lions will be back on the road again in Nebraska and as I previously noted in our preseason podcast, this will be one of their tougher games. No fans but the road experience will still be different and present a bit of a challenge for the team.
The key, as it has been for all three games this year, will be how well Sean Clifford will play. His last game, in particular, was probably the worst we have seen him at Penn State. If the Nittany Lions want to finally get out of the rut they are in, Clifford is going to have to be a whole lot better.
In addition, they will need to get the run game going as Devyn Ford has not impressed so far this season. In the end, after seeing last week’s performance, I think they continue to struggle and drop another one. This time close.
Penn State 31
Kraigen Rasalla (0-3)
The time I dread all week, prediction time. Not only are the Nittany Lions 0-3, but I am, as well, because of the faith I had in them to start the year! But, enough of talking about me and my bad predictions, let’s talk this Saturday’s game.
Sean Clifford really laid an egg in last week’s game against Maryland. It was the most inaccurate and off target I have seen a Penn State QB since Christian Hackenberg, and even then, I don’t think Hack ever played that poorly. It is difficult to see that performance last week and expect things to get better by this week.
The best thing to ever happen to Brent Pry and his defense is Kirk Ciarrocca and the offense because the poor offense is overshadowing the poor defensive performance from last week. Yes, Penn State did not give up a touchdown to the Maryland offense in the second half. But, the game was all but finished in the second half. Maryland didn’t need to score because the game was so out of hand. The Penn State defense needs to step up in a big way on Saturday.
With two winless teams, I expect this game to be sloppy at times with turnovers, penalties, and mental mistakes being a major part of this game. But, for me the question is, out of the two groups I mentioned above, Sean Clifford and Kirk Ciarrocca and Brent Pry and his defense, who do I believe will bounce back more? I think the defense does against a Nebraska offense that averages just 15 points per game in 2020. But, I cannot trust Sean Clifford, his accuracy, or lack thereof, and the play-calling at this point. I hope they prove me wrong, but I have been wrong on this aspect of the team all year and I am not falling for it again.
Penn State 16