World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel offers his key observations from Nebraska’s 17-14 win over Penn State on a solemn Saturday in State College, Pa.
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REX THE QB
When receivers coach Rich Fisher said Rex Burkhead was probably Nebraska’s second-best quarterback, I thought he was kidding. Superman played several snaps under center, running all but once, when he looked to throw but tossed it away. The Wildcat under center? It was a nice wrinkle from offensive coordinator Tim Beck. Burkhead turns the corner quicker than Taylor Martinez. But don’t use that wrinkle when running out the clock, Tim.
MAHER GETTING IT DONE
They play field position in the Big Ten, and nobody played it better Saturday than Nebraska punter Brett Maher, who averaged 45 yards on eight punts with a long of 61 yards and five that landed inside the Penn State 20. There needs to be some thought about Maher being the all-Big Ten punter.
Nebraska improved its bowl options with this win. If the Huskers win out, and don’t make the Big Ten championship because Michigan State wins out, you could see 10-2 Nebraska getting BCS consideration. The Capital One Bowl now looks within reach, and next weekend’s game in Ann Arbor will have ramifications for that bid. Remember, Michigan State went there last year.