1st quarter recap: Penn State 7, Nebraska 3

Penn State’s passing attack has looked sharp over the first 15 minutes of action, with 90 yards, and the Nittany Lions lead 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Penn State’s Zach Zwinak ran for 59 yards and one touchdown in the quarter, although he did have a costly fumble in Nebraska territory.

The Nittany Lions got on the scoreboard first, rattling off a four-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a score when Zwinak pounded in a 50-yard touchdown run.

No. 16 Nebraska closed the gap to 7-3 when Brett Maher kicked a 32-yard field goal to put a bow on a 51-yard drive. Nine of the Cornhuskers’ 13 plays on that possession were rushing attempts.

Nebraska will start the second quarter with possession on Penn State’s 39-yard line.

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Herbie Husker

Read more from BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart on this game:

Player on the spot: Penn State’s Matt McGloin. Or is it Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez? Let’s say both. We all can agree that Ohio State’s Braxton Miller is the top signal-caller in the Big Ten. But this will be a battle to see perhaps who is the second best. McGloin and Martinez are tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with 18. McGloin paces the Big Ten with 2,436 yards passing; Martinez is third with 1,941. Each completes 62 percent of his passes. And each guy’s team is a winner, as the Huskers are 7-2 and the Nittany Lions are 6-3. These guys are good. And read my recent Q&A with McGloin.

Key matchup: Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez vs. Penn State front seven. Martinez may be the hottest signal caller in the Big Ten, engineering three big wins in succession. And in two of them, Martinez led the Cornhuskers back from double-digit fourth-quarter holes (at Northwestern and at Michigan State). The Nittany Lions’ defense has played well all season and ranks No. 4 in the Big Ten (334.6 ypg). Tackle Jordan Hill may not play because of a knee injury, but the front seven is led by a strong group of linebackers spearheaded by Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges. And Penn State has excelled at generating turnovers, as it’s No. 1 in the Big Ten in turnover margin and No. 2 in turnovers gained (17). And no school has turned over the ball more than the Cornhuskers (23).

Key number: 5, career 300-yard passing games for Penn State’s Matt McGloin, as he passed Kerry Collins on the career 300-yard passing game list. Want more? McGloin threw two touchdowns passes in his fourth straight game. It was also the senior’s seventh straight 200-plus yard passing games, besting Collins’ school record of six set in 1994.

Key note: Nebraska rallied from a 24-14 fourth-quarter deficit for a 28-24 win at Michigan State last week. The rally marked the third time in four Big Ten wins the Huskers had rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half (17 points, 3rd quarter vs. Wisconsin; 12 points, 4th quarter at Northwestern).

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