PSU falls, but healing begins
Interim Head Coach Tom Bradley stated in the press conference following Penn State's 17-14 loss to Nebraska that he believes the healing process has begun in State College. He may be exactly right.
The atmosphere in Beaver Stadium was that of respect, honor, and support. Respect and honor for the Penn State players that even with all the distractions and the loss of their beloved head coach, they still came to play football.
Lastly, support for the victims and their families and for the grief that has been caused by a man the Penn State family called one of their own.
Saturday's game against Nebraska marked the first time in 61 years that Joe Paterno was not coaching the Nittany Lions.
Paterno may have not been there in body, but he was certainly there in spirit. The Penn State players honored Paterno by leaving seat one open where Paterno would sit on the bus that transports the players to Beaver Stadium.
The players also walked arm and arm out of the home tunnel instead of running out. Paterno was always known to run out in front of his players even in his older years. Tom Bradley also noted in the post-game press conference that he notified the team that he would not be leading them out of the tunnel before the game.
Cheers of Joe Paterno also echoed through Beaver Stadium a few times during the day and especially at one moment when a montage of Penn State highlights were being played on the big screen. Paterno flashed ever so slightly on the screen and the PSU faithful made it known that they noticed.
Perhaps the most epic of events during the day was when the Penn State and Nebraska captains walked to mid-field and were joined by all their teammates from both sides. Both squads went down on one knee and held a short prayer session. An image that will forever go down as one of the classiest moves in sports history.
Believe it or not there was an actual football game played on Saturday, a very important game, which had serious Big Ten Championship implications for both of the teams involved.
The story for Penn State was much of what it has been all year. The defense constantly gives the Nittany Lions offense opportunity after opportunity to succeed and they throw away those opportunities.
Down the stretch the Lions "D" did what they had to do and the PSU offense could not get the job done.
Even with all the offensive struggles throughout the game, Penn State had a chance to get into field goal range with 48 seconds remaining. The offense couldn't get anything going however, and the Nittany Lions lost a key Big Ten game late in the 2011 season.
The problem looks to be the same week in and week out. That is the quarterback play is just not what it needs to be to beat quality programs like Alabama and Nebraska.
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin finished 16 of 34 for 193 yards and zero touchdowns. The Penn State offense once again struggled to score and didn't improve on a dismal 21.0 points per game average that ranks them 102nd in the country.
There are two key games left in Penn State's season at Ohio State and Wisconsin and it's no secret that they control their destiny.
The Nittany Lions will head to Columbus next week. The Buckeyes laid an egg against Purdue this weekend and is certainly a winnable game for the Nittany Lions.
The fact remains that if the offense and quarterback play doesn't improve before the Nittany Lions' game against the Buckeyes, then the hopes of a Big Ten Championship will no doubt be squandered.
Saturday the Penn State football team lost the game, but it's evident that the State College community is behind their team and behind their school. That is ultimately a step in the right direction towards regaining the reputation that the Nittany Lions have worked so hard to create.