Yeah, it happened Saturday. The team that ranked last in the Big Ten in turnover margin came out on the better end of that stat against the team that ranked first.
Nebraska lost two turnovers but gained three in its 32-23 win over Penn State, only the third time it has come out “plus” this season.
“It was big,” NU head coach Bo Pelini said. “We talked about it all week and going into the game that this team was very good at the takeaway and the turnover differential. We needed to win that phase and we did. Obviously that helped us win the football game.”
Penn State had been plus-nine for the season before visiting Memorial Stadium, and now at plus-eight slips into second in the Big Ten behind Iowa (plus-11). Nebraska remains last at minus-eight.
NU senior safety Daimion Stafford intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble for the Huskers. The other takeaway came on a Will Compton fumble recovery.
Stafford’s interception and 21-yard return to the Penn State 4 set up the game-tying score at 20-20 with 9:37 left in the third quarter. His fumble recovery came in the end zone on the controversial fourth-quarter play where PSU tight end Matt Lehman had the ball knocked away near the goal line by David Santos.
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez also fumbled into the end zone. The Huskers’ other turnover was Tim Marlowe muffing a punt.
Some other wrap-up items from Memorial Stadium:
>> The Huskers have rallied from 12-point or more deficits to win three of their last six games. According to NU sports information, the Huskers had produced just six 12-point or more second-half comebacks in school history.
And, notice, that doesn’t include the rally from the 24-14 deficit last Saturday at Michigan State.
>> Sophomore I-back Ameer Abdullah carried a career-high 31 times to get his 116 yards. Combined with Martinez going for 104, the Huskers have now had a pair of 100-yard rushers in four games this season.
>> Jamal Turner has caught the go-ahead touchdown passes the last two weeks. However, tight end Kyler Reed has kept those drives alive with receptions of 38 yards on fourth-and-10 against Michigan State and 56 yards on third-and-5 against Penn State.
>> Brett Maher made three or more field goals for the sixth time in his career, connecting from 32, 27 and 33 yards. The senior rebounded from a 16-yard punt in the second quarter to have a clutch 69-yarder in the fourth that went out at the PSU 2.
>> Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin completed 18 of 37 passes (48.6 percent) for 240 yards. Nebraska came into Saturday leading the nation by allowing opponents to complete just 46.0 percent of their throws.
>> And, finally, NU offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles on the Huskers needing to rally once again Saturday: “I don’t know why we do it to ourselves.”