November 10, 2012 at 10:46 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. — Penn State had a 14-point lead at the beginning of the third quarter.
Five minutes and 23 seconds of play later, it was completely gone.
Nebraska outscored the Nittany Lions 26-3 in the second half of the team's 9-point victory. On the Cornhuskers' first possession of the second half, they took the ball 75 yards to the endzone in eight plays.
On Penn State's next possession, Matt McGloin threw an interception deep in Penn State territory, which turned into another Nebraska touchdown.
"They came out and they seemed like they wanted it," senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "And they went and they had a good drive and score. It changed momentum, shifted it and we never got it back."
While Penn State has been strong in the first half of games this season (outscoring opponents, 83-6), a weaker final two quarters have become typical of the team — especially in its four losses.
The Lions have been defeated four times in the 2012 campaign, and they've been outscored a total of 84-28 in the second halves of those contests.
"The losses that we had, that's four now, it's all about the second half," senior cornerback Stephon Morris said. "We didn't finish the second half in all them losses."
In the second half, Penn State was limited to 136 total yards and was 2-of-7 on third-down attempts. Meanwhile, Nebraska tallied 250 yards after halftime and held the ball for 18:58 of the final 30 minutes.
Matt Stankiewitch said he thinks Penn State may be losing focus in the second half, and added the team needs to play like it does in the first quarter for an entire game.
"We can't just be that one-punch team that comes out and scores in the first quarter and that's it," the senior center said. "We have to sustain that intensity throughout the whole game."