Snap Reactions: Huskers have steely nerve

Every Saturday, senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts on every Big Ten game. Get Dienhart’s Snap Reactions to Nebraska’s comeback victory over Penn State and Minnesota’s bowl-clinching win at Illinois in this post.

Nebraska 32, Penn State 23
1. That’s four wins in a row for Nebraska since giving up 63 points in a loss at Ohio State. The 32-23 win today allows the Huskers to maintain control of the Legends Division with games left vs. Minnesota and at Iowa. You have to like the chances of the Cornhuskers to win the division.

2. The Cornhuskers are hard on the hearts of their fans. Nebraska came back from a 20-6 hole today. It also came back from 17 vs. Wisconsin, 12 at Northwestern and 10 at Michigan State. This team has a steely nerve that serves it well.

3. Penn State blew a 20-6 lead in its quest to notch its most impressive victory of the season. The defense got gashed for 438 yards with 267 coming on the ground. The Nittany Lions still can finish on an up note with home games left vs. Indiana and Wisconsin. But this one hurts.

Minnesota 17, Illinois 3
1. Minnesota is going bowling for the first time since 2009! The 17-3 win at Illinois wasn’t a work of beauty, but it was methodical. The Golden Gophers defense posted one of its best efforts of the season to backstop this key victory in Jerry Kill’s rebuilding project.

2. Philip Nelson looked like a freshman today, hitting just 9-of-15 passes for 78 yards. He also ran 12 times for only 24 yards. But Nelson had no turnovers and picked up a key first down on a rush in the third quarter on the Gophers’ first touchdown drive. This is part of the growing process for Nelson, who will continue to mature and benefit from those extra practices for a bowl game.

3. The struggles continue for Illinois, which now has lost seven in a row. The defense gave a great effort in limiting Minnesota to 309 yards. But the Illini offense just can’t find a rhythm, notching 276 yards. The run game averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (14 Comments)
john knittle on 11/10/2012 @ 9:39pm EDT Said:

Wish big 10 would man up and admit the are against PENN STATE. Bad calls every week. We all r watching. U can’t put us down. WE ARE PENN STATE

Debbie on 11/10/2012 @ 9:48pm EDT Said:

Wrong games for voting this week showed up

sbuel2 on 11/11/2012 @ 6:23am EDT Said:

Officiating in the B1G has been inconsistent and bad calls made every week and even penalties in one game are allowed in the next game. High hits by Penn State were 15 yard penalties a few games ago against Nebraska and helmet contact wasn’t involved.

McGloine totally lost composure and should have had an unsportsmanlike conduct 15 yarder tagged onto the intentional grounding which was a good call. He was so wrapped up in his fury over the fumble call, he lost it and affected the rest of his game. And then for any player to be so outspoken about the officiating, coaches can’t say anything about officiating and perhaps some penalties should be added to the players.

Penn State, get over it, no one is out to get you. Just an excuse for losing. You have had a rough year and many more to come not due to your players but to previous administration and coaching abuse of power.

In prior experiences with Penn State calls have gone both ways and JoePa was one of the biggest whiners of all time. I was sorry that Penn State was our assigned Leaders foe, i would have preferred Wisconsin.

Douglas R. on 11/11/2012 @ 8:38am EDT Said:

What has happened to the Big 10 officiating? Some of the calls (MSU vs Neb) should be cause to fire some of the refs or at least censure. BTW the camera at the Neb/ PSU game was on the goal line as reported by the press. Sports fans want accuracy from the officials. That’s why the leagues instituted replay cameras. Thus the officials must make truthful ruling to maintain integrity.

Rowland on 11/11/2012 @ 9:27am EDT Said:

Getting a little tired of whining coming out of State College.

K. John on 11/11/2012 @ 10:01am EDT Said:

Penn State won the game. Too bad the officials didn’t agree.

bob jones on 11/11/2012 @ 10:16am EDT Said:

A tough call for Penn St on the goal line, but both the Penn St and Nebraska coaches said after the game that since the play was called a fumble originally that it would not be overturned by replay because it was that close. Not exactly the same is the 1982 call when no replay was available and Penn St received the gift of a pass catch being ruled in bounds that was clearly 2 to 3 YARDS out of bounds. That was not an honest mistake and cost the Huskers what should have been their first National Championship. It was a superior team, with guys like Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Jamie Williams, Irving Fryar, Mike Rozier, Turner Gill and Roger Craig leading the team, and they should not have lost in that way. By the way, the official who made that call and several other equally bad calls that year, all strangely enough in favor of Penn St, was given a permanent ban after the season from ever officiating again. Replay gets it right more often than not, but occasionally cannot rule conclusively from the video that is available to overturn what the call on the field was.

blake on 11/11/2012 @ 11:53am EDT Said:

Was a fumble. He lost control Luke 4 yards before line of scrimage dnt just look at line of scrimmage angle reverse it a few seconds ball clearly coming out. Way for mcgloin to help blow the lead. that was a clear safety if only he knew

knod on 11/11/2012 @ 12:08pm EDT Said:

It’s funny how everyone is going to point to and complain about the PSU TD/fumble. Has everyone forgotten the Kenny Bell first down catch right before halftime that was ruled incomplete and not reviewed for whatever reason? That resulted in a PSU FG that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, would have been 17-6 at half not 20-6. If that play would have been ruled correctly, and PSU was given a TD instead of a fumble, the game would have been tied. After that “tie”, Neb outplayed PSU, so I don’t think PSU has as much of a beef as they think. The bottom line is be consistent, if you are going to complain about a call against your team, be willing to acknowledge a bad call that went in your team’s favor.

sbuel2 on 11/11/2012 @ 12:26pm EDT Said:

Bob Jones is right but do you remember they also got an extra yard or two in the end zone of the bowl game so should have had two loses that year. Nebraska might have been in th at bowl game and at least both would have had a shot at the national title. I agree that was a great team. I noticed and commented on BTN using that pass play and the subsequent touchdown as example and commented that showing that play as an example rubs salt in the wounds.

What about 1994 when Tommy Frazier had the blood clot problems and then Brook Berringer took a hit and his lung collapse, We were number 1 at the time and Mark Thurman played the Kansas game where all he did was hand off and we won. Penn State miraculously was moved into number 1 where they remained ahead of nebraska until Nebraska beat Miami in the Orange bowl. Nebraska returned to Number 1 and got a national title, think it was split poll with Penn State and all we heard for years was “it wasn’t fair that Nebraska be awarded the National Champ as Penn State had not lost a game and you don’t lose number 1 when you don’t lose a game” ON DUH, Nebraska never lsot a game, just two injured QBs and after the Kansas game Brook Berringer was back and Nebraska continued to win. Nebraska didn’t understand how Penn State got moved ahead during the season.

tallygal on 11/11/2012 @ 1:42pm EDT Said:

Mike Pereira, former Vice President of officiating for the NFL and frequent officiating authority for networks, including the Big Ten, said he would have overturned the fumble call on the field. This morning ESPN college commentators said Penn State will receive a letter of apology from the Big Ten this week, but the touchdown would have been better. Stating a consensus of opinions is not whining.

charles on 11/11/2012 @ 3:41pm EDT Said:

Ok some of these comments must be coming from people not watching the same game i saw. They stopped the film. He had two hands on the ball and it was over the front of the goal line. Touchdown! Nebraska got a pass interference call the week before against Michigan state when the Nebraska receiver had a hold of the defensive backs arm. Come on now. You can’t review a pass interference call but that clear touchdown when you stop it its inexcusable and disgusting. Id feel the same if it was the other way around.

GreatWest on 11/11/2012 @ 4:24pm EDT Said:

I watched the game Charles. I saw the questionable call. But I also saw PSU fumble, throw a costly interception and give up a safety. Don’t those plays have as much impact as a bad call? PSU got the ball back and could not produce a first down. Don’t those set of downs equal 4 opportunities to change the outcome? How can you point to one moment in the game and go from there? It’s like the rest of the game didn’t happen or affect the score.

K. John on 11/11/2012 @ 10:16pm EDT Said:

GreatWest, the play was a touchdown for Penn State, period. The video was absolutely conclusive beyond a shadow of a doubt. Don’t forget that the video also shows Lehman being speared. One of at least six similar offenses not called.The INT was the result of a bad call as well. McGloin had to check down after the deep receiver was held. The officials quite literally handed Nebraska a score. This was far from the only play where this happened. Nebraska couldn’t keep up with Penn State’s receivers just as Ohio State couldn’t so they cheated, on almost every single play State ran a deep route which allowed them to single cover. Nebraska couldn’t stay on their own field with Penn State without serious help. Don’t deny it, just admit it. It is a fact backed up by sixty full minutes of video.