Scores

Final/OT

Nebraska 23

(8-3, 5-2 Big Ten)

Penn State 20

(6-5, 3-4 Big Ten)

Coverage: BTN

3:30 PM ET, November 23, 2013

Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA

1 2 3 4 OT T
NEB 0 7 10 3 323
PSU 6 0 7 7 020

Top Performers

Passing: C. Hackenberg (PSU) - 217 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: Z. Zwinak (PSU) - 35 CAR, 149 YDS

Receiving: A. Robinson (PSU) - 8 REC, 106 YDS

Nebraska sneaks by Penn State in overtime

Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- With one final kick, Pat Smith was swooped up and off for a ride on the shoulders of his Nebraska teammates.

He made the clutch kicks that Penn State's Sam Ficken failed to make -- and got the win, to boot.

Smith kicked a 42-yard field goal on Nebraska's first possession in overtime to lift the Cornhuskers to a 23-20 win over Penn State on Saturday night.

He sent the game into OT with a tying field goal late in regulation, then had a 37-yarder in OT called back on a false start. Smith had no trouble with 5 extra yards, giving the Huskers (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) their third win in four games.

"This is what you dream about. This is the reason I came to Nebraska," Smith said. "It's really unbelievable. This is something I'll remember for the rest of my life. A lot of guys have been asking me, were you nervous. I was pumped up; these are the moments you live for."

Ficken, who missed an extra point in regulation, missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt to open overtime. The Nittany Lions (6-5, 3-4) lost for the first time in three home OT games this season.

The Huskers could have won the game late in the fourth after Ameer Abdullah, who rushed for 147 yards, sprinted for a 60-plus yard touchdown run. But wide receiver Sam Burtch was flagged for a personal foul, wiping out the go-ahead score. Nebraska chewed more time off the clock and settled for Smith's tying 19-yard field goal.

"It was tough out there today," he said. "It was cold and windy and late in the game. You never know; you can leave it short."

Not a chance.

Christian Hackenberg, who threw two touchdowns and ran for a score, gave Penn State a short-lived 20-17 lead when he found James down the sideline for a 46-yard TD pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Nittany Lions, who beat Michigan and Illinois in OT, couldn't send the senior class out winners in the home finale.

Hackenberg hit Robinson in the second half for a 43-yard gain, perhaps the last big home-game gain for the junior wide receiver. A semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Robinson holds Penn State single-season records for catches and yards and has put himself in prime position to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft. He has said he will wait until after the season to discuss his future.

Hackenberg threw an interception two plays later and Nebraska converted the turnover into a field goal for a 17-13 lead.

Turnovers and wasted plays on both sides defined this one.

Ron Kellogg III was stripped deep in Nebraska's own territory, and defensive end C.J. Olaniyan was there to recover the fumble. Hackenberg quickly capitalized, fooling everyone on a fake handoff, then sprinting to his right and into the end zone for a 13-7 lead.

Snow was swirling, the band was playing, and the students who braved the cold were going wild.

Kenny Bell sucked the enthusiasm out of Beaver Stadium with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 14-13 lead. Purdue's Raheem Mostert had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week. PSU coach Bill O'Brien said he planned no changes to the special teams unit, and Nebraska made PSU pay.

"We'll continue to work hard in special teams," O'Brien said. "They're good kids working hard."

Kellogg got the chance to lead the Huskers in the first after Tommy Armstrong Jr. was forced out with an ankle injury. Kellogg completed four straight passes, including a 27-yard TD pass to Quincy Enunwa early in the second quarter for a 7-6 lead.

"I thought Ron did some really good things out there today. There were some really tough conditions," coach Bo Pelini said. "He provides great leadership. He obviously made some mistakes, but he did some good things."

With leading rusher Bill Belton out with strep throat and a bad shoulder, the Nittany Lions gave the bulk of the carries to Zach Zwinak. He carried six straight times on Penn State's third drive and that put the ball on Nebraska's 2. Hackenberg hit Adam Breneman for the short TD pass and the 6-0 lead.

Ficken's point-after hit the upright and was no good, a costly miss that helped the Huskers keep the 7-6 lead at halftime.

Zwinak finished with 149 yards rushing. Robinson had eight catches for 106 yards.

The harsh penalties the NCAA levied against the program in 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal included a four-year bowl ban and scholarship cuts. The NCAA gave players an out -- they could leave if they wanted without having to worry about transfer rules and play right away.

In the end, 10 players transferred, though more than 90 percent of the team stayed.

The bulk of this year's class stuck it out, a group of players that impressed O'Brien daily with its work ethic, strong bond with the coaching staff, and ability to embrace a leadership role when the program needed them the most.

The seniors ran through a tunnel of teammates and greeted their families at midfield. They earned a video tribute that said the players, "led by your commitment, led by your loyalty, by your actions, led by example."

"This senior class has a special place in Penn State history," O'Brien said. "They stuck with this team in a very tough time."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NEB
PSU
1st Downs1918
Total Yards360387
Passing192217
Rushing168170
Penalties7-543-25
3rd Down Conversions3-172-14
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers21
Possession29:1630:44

Passing Leaders

NebraskaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kellogg III20/341915.610
Penn StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hackenberg16/332176.621

Rushing Leaders

NebraskaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Abdullah251475.9050
Cross8313.9013
Penn StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Zwinak351494.3011
Lynch591.805

Receiving Leaders

NebraskaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Westerkamp56212.4015
Enunwa34214.0127
Penn StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Robinson810613.3043
James35618.7146

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEBPSU
TD00:33Adam Breneman 2 Yd Pass From Christian Hackenberg. (Pat Failed) 06
SECOND QUARTERNEBPSU
TD13:14Quincy Enunwa 27 Yd Pass From Ron Kellogg III. (Pat Smith Kick) 76
THIRD QUARTERNEBPSU
TD10:37Christian Hackenberg 7 Yd Run. (Sam Ficken Kick) 713
TD10:22Kenny Bell 99 Yd Kickoff Return. (Pat Smith Kick) 1413
FG01:11Pat Smith 39 Yd 1713
FOURTH QUARTERNEBPSU
TD14:50Jesse James 46 Yd Pass From Christian Hackenberg. (Sam Ficken Kick) 1720
FG04:29Pat Smith 19 Yd 2020
OVERTIMENEBPSU
FGPat Smith 42 Yd 2320