3 Up, 3 Down: Nebraska 32, PSU 23

Zach Zwinak showed his moves against Nebraska on Saturday. AP Photo/Nati Harnik

The good and the bad from Penn State's 32-23 loss to Nebraska on Saturday:


1. Zach Zwinak again proves he's the best tailback on the team -- and can move. Not only did he flash some speed and open the game with a 50-yard rushing touchdown, but he was the Nittany Lions' spark. He ran for 141 yards, caught two passes for 37 yards and accounted for more than 45 percent of the offense. Zwinak hasn't seen a lot of opportunities in the open field this season, but he showed Saturday he can turn on the jets when he has to. With Bill Belton again being limited, it appears as if Zwinak could now be the unquestioned starter.

2. Special teams boasted their best all-around game. Sam Ficken nailed 3-of-3 field goal attempts, and Alex Butterworth averaged 47.7 yards per punt. Jesse Della Valle fared pretty well on kickoff returns, and the coverage teams had no lapses. All in all, PSU couldn't have done much better on special teams. This is the best they've played all year, and the duo of Butterworth-Ficken finally contributed instead of looking like liabilities.

3. Plenty of stops in the backfield. Penn State beat up on Nebraska's offensive line early by making seven tackles-for-loss in just the first half -- and finished the game with a season-tying best of nine TFLs overall. Deion Barnes brought down three ballcarriers behind the line of scrimmage, and the defense looked dominant -- until it grew tired in the second half and PSU's offense stopped offering support. Nevertheless, there's a lot to build off here, and Ted Roof is sure to watch the tape and put PSU in the position for a replay next week.


1. Not holding onto the ball. Drops and fumbles ruined Penn State's chances for a win. Yes, a controversial call prevented tight end Matt Lehman's touchdown -- but he needed to secure the ball on second down instead of lurching forward with three defenders pawing at the ball. Zwinak also fumbled inside the red zone, leaving points on the field, and PSU's receivers experienced a very hit-or-miss game. Brandon Moseby-Felder dropped two balls, and Kyle Carter dropped a touchdown. Take away those mistakes, and Penn State wins.

2. Bad decisions by the quarterback. Matt McGloin squared off against the best pass defense he has faced all season, and he seemed on pace for a great performance -- until he made two bonehead plays in the second half. McGloin handed the momentum to Nebraska on a poor pass that was intercepted early in third quarter, placing Nebraska just four yards from the end zone, and he later lacked awareness and was called for a safety after throwing the ball away. That's not like McGloin, and it further hurt PSU's chances at a win.

3. Defense overwhelmed by the running game. If PSU's defense won the battle in the trenches in the first half, then Nebraska's OL won the second-half battle -- and the war. The Cornhuskers finished with 267 rushing yards and averaged nearly five yards a touch. PSU couldn't stop pitches to the outside, and the injury to Jordan Hill certainly didn't help matters up the middle either. PSU looked a little tired in the second half, and Nebraska took advantage. Penn State needs to shore up its run defense in the next week or risk facing an uphill struggle against Indiana ... and then Wisconsin.