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Sjuts’ Slant: Nebraska vs. Penn St.

Nebraska returns to Lincoln this Saturday when the Huskers take on Penn State at Memorial...
Nebraska returns to Lincoln this Saturday when the Huskers take on Penn State at Memorial Stadium.(Brett Baker)
Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 6:54 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - 1011 NOW Sports Director Kevin Sjuts shares his thoughts on Nebraska’s 30-23 win over Penn State.

SJUTS' SLANT

-Never a doubt? Oh, there were doubts. The Huskers have lost ten games by one possession under Scott Frost. When Penn State was driving in the fourth quarter, the “not again” thoughts had to be creeping in.

-Wan’Dale Robinson had more touches in the first half (11) than he did in the first two games combined (10).

-Memorial Stadium is a beautiful structure. Of course it looks best when 92,000 red-clad fans are inside. But even without the Husker faithful, its still a beautiful sight.

-Nebraska’s bench was on the west side of the field, which felt really odd. Its believed that the Huskers haven’t used the west bench since the Bob Devaney era.

-Luke McCaffrey was far from perfect in his first career start. The redshirt freshman made some key plays and the team seems to rally around him. Plus, the coaches have a high amount of trust in McCaffrey. Quarterback-designed run plays were called multiple times when the game was getting tight down the stretch.

-Nebraska still needs a downfield threat on offense. After leading the team in receptions against Northwestern, Marcus Fleming didn’t record a catch on Saturday. For those wondering about Omar Manning, the JUCO transfer was not on the sideline against Penn State.

-Not only are the sights different around Memorial Stadium in 2020, so are the smells. No Runzas, popcorn, or Valentino’s pizza filling the air.

-Kudos to Adrian Martinez for putting on a happy face and supporting his teammates. It had to have been extremely difficult for the junior quarterback to stand on the sidelines after starting 23 times over his career. Martinez was actively involved in meetings with his teammates, and was seen encouraging Luke McCaffrey throughout the game.

-Last week’s big postgame discussion was red zone offense. Today its red zone defense. Six Penn State drives went inside the 20. Only one resulted in a touchdown. That includes the Nittany Lions' last two drives in which they had a chance to tie the game.

-Dicaprio Bootle’s stat line isn’t flashy: 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 1 QB hurry. The senior cornerback, though, played a terrific game. He was constantly providing good coverage and was step-for-step with his man on a fade route into the end zone late in the game. Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, who entered the game with a Big Ten-leading 5 touchdown receptions, had just two catches against the Huskers.

-"Stacking wins." Players have used this phrase on more than one occasion this year. They can definitely start stacking wins with Illinois coming to Lincoln next week.

-Let’s hope there’s a game next week. Today was fun.

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