STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Saquon Barkley broke Penn State’s career touchdown record with three scores and had 208 of 224 total yards in the first half to lead the No. 13 Nittany Lions to a 56-44 victory over Nebraska on Saturday night.
Barkley passed Lydell Mitchell for the record with his 39th touchdown.
Trace McSorley ran for a touchdown and threw for 325 yards on 24-of-36 passing with three touchdown passes for Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). Mike Gesicki caught two scoring passes and became Penn State’s career touchdowns leader by a tight end with 13, and DeAndre Thompkins also had a touchdown catch.
Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens added a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Bowers to help the Nittany Lions go unbeaten at Beaver Stadium for the second straight season.
Nebraska’s Tanner Lee returned from concussion protocol to complete 26 of 41 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
Morgan Stanley Jr. caught seven passes for 185 yards and a touchdown for Nebraska (4-7, 3-5) . De’Mornay Pierson-El and Jack Stoll added touchdown catches for the Cornhuskers, who outscored Penn State 34-14 in the second half after trailing 42-10 at halftime.
Devine Ozigbo and MIkale Wilbon ran for touchdowns and Drew Brown added a 23-yard field goal for the Cornhuskers. They will miss out on a bowl game for the first time since the 2007 season.
It didn’t take Barkley long to snap out of a recent rushing funk. The Heisman Trophy candidate broke his streak of three games with 63 rushing yards or less when he galloped 65 yards down the sideline on his first carry.
Barkley gave Penn State the lead for good with a 1-yard plunge late in the first quarter to make it 14-10 and passed Mitchell on an 8-yard run up the middle in the second.
Nebraska took advantage of two short fields to pull ahead 10-7 early.
The Cornhuskers recovered a punt that hit a Penn State player and Brown made a short field goal eight plays later. A shanked Blake Gillikin punt gave the Cornhuskers the ball in Penn State territory again and Ozigbo capped a short drive with a 1-yard scoring run that gave Nebraska a 10-7 lead with 6:17 to play in the first.
Nebraska managed just seven yards of offense the rest of the half and went 3-and-out six times, with five in a row to end the half.
Nebraska: The loss knocked the Cornhuskers out of bowl contention and speculation about head coach Mike Riley’s job security will likely ramp up in the coming days. Nebraska has lost five of six and allowed a combined 235 points in those defeats.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions got a confidence boost for what had become a one-dimensional offense lately and delivered a big blow in the series. Their 56 points are the most a Penn State team has put on a Nebraska squad ever, surpassing a 40-7 win in 2002.
Nebraska hosts Iowa on Saturday.
Penn State travels to Maryland on Saturday.
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