Head coach Steve Shephard said he told his team Friday night's meet in Lincoln, Neb., would be won or lost on the last event.
The last rotation of the night found Penn State on the balance beam, and Nebraska on the floor.
Going into the beam, the No. 17 Penn State women's gymnastics team led No. 12 Nebraska by less than a tenth of a point.
The lead didn't hold up for the Nittany Lions who lost the close meet to the Cornhuskers 195.325-194.625.
Nebraska's floor score was the highest score for either team on any event.
Only one Penn State women's gymnast fell on Friday. That score was dropped, and the team had reached its goal of not counting a fall the entire meet.
"It was obviously a really close meet going into the last event and we did a good job with staying on the beam," freshman Natalie Ettl said. "We had a couple wobbles and wiggles but stayed on.
In the first away meet of the season, fall after fall resulted in a disappointing team score and a disappointing loss.
Junior captain Rosie Smith said that although overall it was a good meet, there were some "balance checks here and there."
In this meet, the second road test of the season for the Lions, it was those wobbles, wiggles and balance checks that were the difference.
"I thought we tenthed ourself to death, a tenth here and a tenth there. We didn't make any big mistakes, but we made a lot of little mistakes," Shephard said.
Friday's meet was highlighted by the performance of junior Brandi Personett, who captured her third all-around title in just four meets this season.
She also took home the vault title and tied for the floor title with Nebraska's Kylie Stone. Stone led the Cornhuskers and finished second to Personett in the all-around by .025.
Floor has been an event that the Lions have been disappointed with early in the season, and they have focused on that event in practice.
"I felt like our floor improved a little bit. Daryl [Konsevick] still went out of bounds," Shephard said.
"Talking about Penn State gymnastics, we've lost so many close meets going out of bounds on floor, it's like 'Hello, don't go out of bounds.' It's a tenth, you go out of bounds, it's a tenth, a tenth makes a difference, makes a big difference."
That was the story for the Lions in Lincoln. Each event found the gymnasts just a little bit off, or making a little mistake that in the end kept the team from being victorious.
A positive for the Lions is they know they can do respectable in the Devaney Center, this year's site for the national championship.
"I thought we competed well with them.
"We gave them a good meet. They knew they had to hit floor, and they hit floor," he said.
The team's co-captain was pleased with the team's efforts, and found a lot of positives in the narrow defeat to a quality opponent.
"Knowing we can do better than them, and knowing we made lots of mistakes that we can easily fix, I think it's inspiring in a way," Smith said. "Going up against teams like Nebraska, knowing we were right up there with them all the way through the meet, I think that will boost our confidence a lot.
"If we had our best meet, we could beat them."