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Nov. 12, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In its final home game of the season, the No. 12 Penn State football team fell to No. 19 Nebraska, 17-14, in front of a season-high 107,903 fans at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, the Nittany Lions fell to 8-2 (5-1 Big Ten).
The Senior Day matchup marked the final home contest for 23 seniors. An all-stadium blue out was also declared for the game, which helped raise awareness and show support for child abuse. Prior to the coin toss, student-athletes, coaches and personnel from both teams joined together at midfield in a moment of reflection and prayer.
Quarterback Matthew McGloin (Scranton) completed 16-of-34 passes for 193 yards, while Stephfon Green (Bronx, N.Y.) led the Penn State rushing attack with 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Derek Moye (Rochester) gathered a team-high four receptions for a game-high 78 yards.
The Penn State defense shined throughout the game with Nathan Stupar (State College) collecting a team-high 13 tackles. Devon Still (Wilmington, Del.) made six stops and garnered his first career forced fumble, while linebacker Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) registered his first career fumble recovery and made nine stops. Jack Crawford (Longport, N.J.) garnered Penn State's lone sack.
The Nittany Lions outgained Nebraska, 176-167, in the opening half but trailed the Cornhuskers, 10-0, at halftime. During Penn State's second drive, the offense orchestrated a 10-play, 51-yard drive that was highlighted by Curtis Drake's (Philadelphia) 31-yard, third-down reception. The Nittany Lions moved the ball all the way to the Nebraska 30-yard line, but Anthony Fera (Cypress, Texas) pushed a 47-yard field-goal attempt wide right.
Nebraska took a 3-0 advantage with 10:55 remaining in the half. Taylor Martinez helped orchestrate a nine-play, 50-yard drive with two completions for 26 yards and four rushes for 16 yards. Brett Maher capped the drive with a 41-yard field goal.
The Huskers extended their lead to 10-0 when Ameer Adbullah scored on a two-yard rush with 44 seconds remaining. Penn State nearly forced a field-goal attempt, but a third-down pass interference penalty set up the touchdown rush one play later.
Following a Penn State turnover, the Huskers recovered the ball at their 48-yard line and completed an eight-play, 52-yard drive to take a 17-0 lead. Facing a first down from the Penn State 14-yard line, Martinez pitched the ball back to Rex Burkhead, who scored with 8:51 left in the third quarter.
The Nittany Lions answered the following drive to make it a 17-7 game with 5:07 left in the third quarter. McGloin completed 4-of-5 passes for 64 yards, including a 40-yard pass to Moye. Two plays later, Green punched the ball in from five yards out to cap off the nine-play, 82-yard drive.
Following a Nebraska turnover, Green helped close the deficit to 17-14 with 5:42 remaining in the game with his six-yard touchdown rush. With Nebraska driving down the field, Still broke through the offensive line to cause the fumble before Hodges jumped on the loose ball. The Nittany Lion offense then embarked on a nine-play, 51-yard drive.
Green and Brandon Beachum (Struthers, Ohio) provided most of the legwork for the Nittany Lions, and McGloin was on the receiving end of a 16-yard pass from Drake. With first-and-goal from the Nebraska six-yard line, Green plowed through the line for his second touchdown of the day.
The Penn State offense would have the ball twice more in the final 3:52 of the game but was unable to score. During their first possession, Silas Redd (Norwalk, Conn.) was stopped on a fourth-down attempt and, on the final play of the game, McGloin's pass for Justin Brown (Wilmington, Del.) hit the grass as time expired.
Penn State will return to action on Sat., Nov. 19 when it visits Ohio State (6-4, 3-3) in a critical Leaders Division clash. Opening kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. with the game airing on ESPN or ABC, as well as the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.