Why Penn State vs. Nebraska Will Be Best Big Ten Showdown of the Year

Randy ChambersAnalyst INovember 9, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 27: Herbie Husker celebrates a Nebraska Cornhuskers touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska beat Michigan 23-9. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

When Nebraska and Penn State battled last season, the game was overshadowed by a scandal that shook the college football world. Despite the two programs playing a great game that came down to the wire, many had their minds on things other than the sport of football.

With the Nittany Lions heading to Memorial Stadium this weekend to play the Cornhuskers at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2, it will be considered the best Big Ten game of the year.

While the conference may not be the most appealing to waste a Saturday afternoon on, this game does deserve some attention when browsing through the channels tomorrow.


Actual Good Quarterback Play

Raise your hand if you had Matthew McGloin or Taylor Martinez leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game.

You can now put your hand down because you are all lying.

McGloin actually leads the conference with 2,436 passing yards this season and has gone seven games with throwing at least two touchdown passes. He has come a long way since last year when he completed only 54 percent of his passes and threw five interceptions to eight touchdown passes.

Whatever head Coach Bill O'Brien has taught him during the offseason has obviously worked, as he appears to be a completely different player.

As for Martinez, he is still more of a threat running the football, but is second in the conference, averaging 215 passing yards a game. He has improved his completion percentage to 63 percent and has produced 25 plays of over 25 passing yards with his arm.

Martinez is easily one of the more improved players in the league and is a huge reason why Nebraska has a 7-2 record at the moment.

The Big Ten isn't exactly known for terrific quarterback play, but if there was ever a game to see two solid signal-callers, this is the conference game for you to enjoy.


Something Has Got to Give

Nebraska has an offense that is averaging 38 points a game and is ranked sixth in the country in rushing yards. The scoring defense of Penn State is ranked 14th in the country, as the Nittany Lions are allowing no more than 17 points per contest on average.

The Cornhuskers are going to want to come into the game and run the football considering they are averaging nearly six yards a carry and have topped 200 yards on the ground in eight of the first nine games. However, Penn State is allowing less than four yards a carry on defense and has held four teams to under 100 rushing yards.

Nebraska is also one of three teams left in the Big Ten that is still undefeated at home. It has won tough games against Michigan and Wisconsin in Lincoln, NE. But on the other side, Penn State has been strong on the road this year, winning games against Illinois, Iowa and Purdue away from Beaver Stadium.

There are few things better in football than seeing a high-powered offensive team square off against a solid defense that believes it can stop them. Something has got to give, and we will all soon find out what when the Big Ten showdown takes place.