Of course it is senior day as the Penn State Nittany Lions host the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday. The Lions will be saying goodbye to 17 seniors who have served the program through most chaotic period in the history of the University. The unfortunate circumstance is that this one more class that separates he program from the horrendous tragedy of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Sandusky has not been a coach at the University since 1999, but even though he was absent from the staff when these young men attended school in Happy Valley his legacy unfortunately cast a shadow over their careers. These young men should be applauded for their efforts to aid in holding the team together and overcoming one of the most scandalous catastrophes in college football history.
These young men will be facing Husker team that is will may be lacking in enthusiasm and energy as they watched their hopes of an appearance in a Big Ten Championship game disappear after their unfortunate loss at the hands of Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State Spartans last week. Head Coach Bill O’Brien and his Nittany Lions will benefit from a quick start if at all possible in this game. It might be to the Lions’ benefit to receive the opening kickoff this week. Often times teams will differ to the second half — especially when they are playing at home — but the Lions should not differ if they are given the opportunity this week. They are playing a team that is coming off a bad loss and may be without momentum. They should attack at home when their opponent is without energy and try to keep the Huskers down. If the Huskers stay in the game their defense will undoubtedly forget about the loss last week and become the dominant squad that they were in the game two weeks ago.
Another reason the Nittany Lions may want to receive the ball is to keep it out of the hands of the Husker offense. More specifically the Penn State team should try to limit the touches Husker I-back Ameer Abdullah gets. Abdullah is one of the nation’s best running backs this season. Abdullah possesses both power and speed. We also saw flashes of why he was a Husker punt returner for his first two seasons last week when his elusiveness allowed him to escape would be Spartan tacklers. Abdullah also rushes consistently no matter what type of game the Huskers are in. Win or lose Abdullah gets his yards against the Penn State Nittany Lions, but Coach O’Brien would be wise to prolong Abdullah’s opportunity to take the home crowd out of the game as long as possible.
This will be a big game for Abdullah as the Huskers need a rebound very badly. They may be out of the Big Ten championship game this season, but they are still battling for a relevant bowl appearance. The Huskers should turn to Abdullah to get the win. They may also give the junior more carries in an attempt to pad his stats in search of post-season accolades for the Husker I-back.