Saturday's player to watch: Stephon Morris


Everyone will closely watch Matt McGloin and Michael Mauti, but who else should play a critical role in Saturday's game? NittanyNation ventures outside the box against Nebraska.

This week's impact player: Stephon Morris, senior cornerback

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez might be the best pocket passer this secondary sees all season -- and he loves to go after cornerbacks. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Martinez is completing 55.1 percent of his passes thrown over 15 yards. And the intermediate to deep routes should again be on showcase vs. Penn State.

Eight of Martinez's 18 touchdowns have come on such throws, and he's had seven in five home games. Kenny Bell -- the wideout Morris will likely square off against -- has pulled down five of those touchdowns, making him a unique threat. No Nebraska player has tallied that many for nine seasons.

In case those numbers have your head swirling, just remember this: Martinez likes to throw balls longer than 15 yards and, when he finds a soft spot there, teams almost always lose.

If Morris can help stop Bell and this passing game, especially on throws 15 yards and longer, that could make all the difference. When Martinez completes at least half of those passes, the Cornhuskers are 10-1. When he doesn't? They're just 5-9. That's a big difference, so Morris will be asked to step up -- and fans should keep an eye on this matchup.