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No. 16 Nebraska provides PSU's toughest road challenge

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State linemen Matt Stankiewitch (54) and John Urschel (64) provide protection for quarterback Matt McGloin in a game last month against Northwestern.

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By Scott Brown
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 10:46 p.m.

Penn State is 3-0 in conference road games this year and has outscored the opposition, 107-30, in those contests.

That success should give the Nittany Lions confidence Saturday when they play their toughest road game of the year against No. 16 Nebraska.

“There's no better feeling than going on the road and just completely taking a stadium out of the game,” quarterback Matt McGloin said. “That's definitely one of the thing we (want) to do on Saturday is go out to Nebraska and try to eliminate that crowd as quickly as possible.”

That will be easier said than done.

Nebraska is undefeated at home (5-0), and Memorial Stadium will be a sea of red for the 3:30 p.m. game.

“Football here is everything, and our fans put everything into it,” said Nebraska wide receiver Tim Marlowe, who was a high school teammate of Penn State running back Mike Zordich. “We feel so much pride to play here in Lincoln in front of them. It's our goal to never lose at home, and we definitely want to make that happen this year.”

Several Penn State players said the team has been successful on the road because of the mentality it adopted after the NCAA levied sanctions against the football program.

“I think the best thing about (playing on the road) is everything's narrowed down to its simplest form,” senior outside linebacker Michael Mauti said. “There's no auxiliary distractions. There's really just nothing else, and I think that plays to our advantage because we bring our own energy, and everything we need is within our own locker room, within our staff. Ever since this whole thing started, all we needed was the guys in our locker room.”

Wait and see

Coach Bill O'Brien didn't offer any update on defensive tackle Jordan Hill or tight end Kyle Carter during his weekly radio show.

The first-year coach said Thursday night the injured players are “day to day.”

Asked whether they will play against Nebraska, O'Brien said, “You'll have to find out Saturday.”

Hill sprained in left knee in Penn State's 34-9 win Saturday at Purdue. Carter, the Nittany Lions' second-leading receiver, didn't make the trip to Purdue after spraining his ankle the previous week in a 35-23 loss to Ohio State.

On the rise

Alex Kenney is fifth on Penn State in catches (12) and receiving yards (129), but the redshirt sophomore has seen a diminished role in the offense as the season has progressed.

O'Brien last week alluded to Kenney having to earn playing time in practice, and the State College native has apparently picked it up in drills.

Wide receivers coach Stan Hixon said Thursday that Kenney, one of Penn State's fastest players, should play a bigger role in the offense against the Cornhuskers.

“He'll play even more this game based on what we're doing on the offense,” Hixon said.

Academic honors

Guard John Urschel, defensive end Pete Massaro, linebacker Ben Kline and defensive end Brad Bars earned academic All-District honors, making the four eligible for the academic All-American team.

Urschel and Massaro already have earned undergraduate degrees

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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