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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-3) will play their final four quarters of football inside Beaver Stadium for 2013 when they welcome Nebraska (7-3, 4-2) for a 3:30 p.m. (TV-BTN) kick on Senior Day.
Seventeen Nittany Lion seniors will be honored prior to kickoff on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 3:10 p.m. for the Senior Day ceremony that will honor a special 2013 class.
On the field, Penn State and Nebraska are among the 12 Division I FBS programs that have posted 725 wins or more in program history. The Cornhuskers, who have won the last three meetings, own an 8-7 on-field edge against the Nittany Lions in the all-time series.
Last week, Allen Robinson's eight catches for 98 yards gave the junior wideout a Penn State season record of 81 receptions. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist's 98-yard performance and a season-high 289 rushing yards fueled the Lions to a 45-21 win over Purdue.
Nebraska enters the game having won two of its last three games. The Huskers had a two-game winning streak snapped in Lincoln last week when they fell to No. 13 Michigan State by a score of 41-28. Led by the Big Ten's top rusher, Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten in rushing offense.
In addition to the Senior Day ceremony, there are several events planned around Saturday's final game in Beaver Stadium for 2013. Penn State Athletics and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank have teamed up for their second annual food drive, which continues through Nov. 24. Fans are encouraged to "Stuff a Blue Bus" by dropping off canned goods at the following drop-off locations: Bryce Jordan Center, Jeffrey Field, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau. The goal for "Stuff a Blue Bus" is to collect 10,000 lbs. of food.
Former defensive end Dave Robinson will be honored at Saturday's game for his remarkable career and recent Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. He is the sixth member of the Penn State Football program to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Robinson was an All-American in 1962 and also has been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. He earned All-Pro honors with the Green Bay Packers.
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for Penn State's Senior Day matchup against Nebraska.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. It's hard to imagine walking in the shoes of the 17 seniors who will be honored prior to Saturday's game. The group of hard-working student-athletes stuck with Penn State during difficult times. Resilient is the best way to describe a group of student-athletes who will be remembered for their dedication to the football program.
Kyle Baublitz, Kevin Blanchard, Alex Butterworth, Glenn Carson, Bryan Davie, Brandon Felder, Garry Gilliam, Adam Gress, Ty Howle, DaQuan Jones, Alex Kenney, Matt Lehman, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Eric Shrive, John Urschel, Malcolm Willis and Pat Zerbe stayed at Penn State because they felt like the people around them were too special to walk away from. For that, fans are encouraged to be in the stadium to recognize the commitment of the special senior class.
2. While it is a special day for the seniors, Penn State's underclassmen have made it clear that they intend to leave everything on the field for the seniors during the final two weeks of the regular season. The 17 seniors are well respected in the locker room by their peers and coaching staff. Coach O'Brien said earlier this week that the team would do everything in its power to play with great passion in order to send the seniors out in the proper manner.
3. According to Coach O'Brien, the team that turns the ball over the least will likely be the winner on Saturday. Ball security on offense is a point of emphasis every week, but it is paramount in a game featuring two teams capable of putting points on the board. Penn State can ill afford to give the Nebraska offense a short field or easy points because of turnovers. The Nittany Lions have forced 10 turnovers, but lost 13 this season. Nebraska has forced just five turnovers, but lost 17 turnovers and ranks No. 12 in the Big Ten in turnover margin.
What to Watch For - Nebraska
1. Junior running back Ameer Abdullah has emerged as one of the nation's top backs in 2013. Abdullah, who leads the Big Ten in rushing at 133.6 ypg, has nine 100-yard rushing games this season, including 225 against Illinois. The Doak Walker Award semifinalist also has 22 receptions for 191 yards and two receiving touchdowns. The dynamic Abdullah lines up in several spots across the offense. In conference games, the Alabama native is averaging 145.2 yards per game.
2. The Cornhuskers field one of the top pass-rushing units in the nation. Nebraska ranks fourth in the NCAA with 32 sacks. Sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory leads the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks, including eight in Big Ten play. Gregory has 15.0 tackles for loss this season. In all, Nebraska has 12 players with at least three tackles for a loss this season. Keep an eye on the battle in the trenches when the Nittany Lions have the ball.
3. With senior Taylor Martinez sidelined with a foot injury, redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. has taken the bulk of the snaps at quarterback during Big Ten play. Armstrong is 5-1 as a starter and has led Nebraska to a touchdown on the opening drive in four of his six starts. Armstrong has thrown for 802 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Senior Ron Kellogg III has also played at quarterback. Kellogg III has completed 67 percent of his passes and thrown for four touchdowns this season. Additionally, Nebraska's receiving corps is among the best in the Big Ten. Senior Quincy Enunwa has eight touchdown catches this season. Junior Kenny Bell, who is third on Nebraska's career receiving yards list, has 39 catches and four touchdowns in 2013.
The Final Word:
It will be a battle between two traditional powers in the final home game of the 2013 season. After Saturday, Penn State will not play a regular season game in Beaver Stadium until Sept. 6, 2014. With that in mind, fans are encouraged to be in the stadium early to cheer on the seniors before the final four quarters of football in Happy Valley for 2013. Turnovers and the battle in the trenches will likely decide the outcome of Saturday's game. Penn State has won 20 of its last 23 Senior Day games on the field.
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