National sportswriters and broadcasters used to say that Nebraska was a team not built to come from behind. That's obviously a thing of the past. Using a balanced attack, the Cornhuskers did it again, turning a two-touchdown halftime deficit into a 32-23 victory over Penn State Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
This pattern of Cornhusker comebacks is enjoyable -- to a point.
But could we make an exception next weekend? With Minnesota coming to town and NU poised to run the table at home for the first time since 2001, I hope they take care of business from the opening kickoff on Senior Day.
Is Nebraska (8-2 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) finally going to pay the bill for its sloppy play sometime this season? Hard to say. I thought it was going to cost the Huskers the game against a more disciplined and equally courageous Penn State team (6-4, 4-2).
Here are my three keys to the Huskers' fourth double-digit comeback of the season:
1. After giving up 255 total yards in the first half, the Blackshirts solved Penn State's NFL-style attack in the second half, holding the Nittany Lions to just 136 total yards after intermission.
More importantly, they got three takeaways -- two of them fumbles inside the Husker 10-yard line. The other was an interception by Daimion Stafford, whose return to the Penn State 4 allowed the Huskers to tie the game early in the third quarter.
2. One of Penn State's turnovers may have come gift-wrapped to Nebraska, and it was a big moment. With nine minutes left in the game, Penn State's Matt Lehman caught a pass and lunged toward the goal line, but a hit by David Santos knocked the ball free and Stafford recovered it for a touchback.
Penn State fans will claim that video reviews showed Lehman breaking the plane of the end zone with the ball before fumbling. Maybe so, but let's consider this a long-overdue payback for that awful 1982 sideline call on a Todd Blackledge to Mike McCloskey that set up the decisive touchdown in Nebraska's only loss that season.
3. Backup I-back Imani Cross provided some punch in the red zone. He carried the ball eight times for 22 yards and two touchdowns in a game situation, and Braylon Heard ran three times for 25 yards (statistics unofficial).
That kind of experience will pay off later.
Tad Stryker is the former sports editor of the North Platte Bulletin and provides analysis after each Husker football game for Bulletin readers. Stryker also writes for HuskerMax. (http://www.huskermax.com).