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What looked to be a decent Big Ten game turned into the game of the week due to off-field tumult. And what looked to be a disappointment for Penn State fans turned into a game with a tight fourth and a thrilling finish.
A little bit of trickery set the Nittany Lions up to pull within three. Curtis Drake threw a 16-yard pass back to quarterback Matthew McGloin, with Stephfon Green scoring his second touchdown on the next play. PSU's defense held strong on the next possession, giving their offense the chance to win with four minutes left.
The Nittany Lions faced a fourth down in their own territory with just under two to go, sending Silas Redd into the line. He was stopped short, and, after a review, all that was left was for the Huskers to burn through Penn State's time outs. A look at the Redd play, via @cjzero:
However, Penn State stuffed Rex Burkhead on a fourth down toss of their own, giving themselves life with 49 seconds left. A Nebraska holding penalty put Penn State at the Huskers 37, but a hurried Hail Mary was all they could muster. Nittany Lions fans gave a standing ovation as soon as the game ended, and both teams again gathered at midfield.
A little bit of offense peered through the Big Tenniness in the second quarter, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers fired in a 41-yard field goal at the 11-minute mark and drove within the red zone in the closing minutes. At the break, the Penn St. Nittany Lions trail, 10-0 -- they've given up 10 or fewer points in six of their nine games so far this year, so we could be in for a relative shootout.
An unpopular pass interference call on Nick Sukay gave the Huskers a first down inside the 10, setting up a two-yard bull for the score by Ameer Abdullah. The yardage game has been even, but the Huskers have done a better job at stringing plays together, acquiring three more first downs.
Nebraska will get the ball after the break.
Joe Paterno may be watching his former team take on Nebraska from home, but there's still one Paterno roaming Penn State's sidelines. Jay Paterno, Penn State's quarterbacks coach and JoePa's son, has come down from his usual perch high above the field in the pressbox to coach from the ground. And in a tribute to his father, he's wearing his father's coat. From Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Paterno passed Bryant on the all-time wins list on Oct. 27, 2001, defeating Ohio State 29-27 (box score). Highlights from that game are embedded below, and if you skip ahead to the 9:45 mark, you can see the post-game celebration, which featured Paterno being hoisted onto the shoulders of his players and his post-game speech to the Beaver Stadium crowd:
Nobody had planned on this being the game of the day, but circumstances are like that. One thing the storylines couldn't change is the fact that this is still very much a Penn St. Nittany Lions game. By that I mean it's scoreless after a quarter.
PSU and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have managed five first downs apiece, so movement is being made, but the only real scoring opportunity was a missed Nittany Lions field goal. Silas Redd is your statistical marvel so far, rushing for 32 yards on six carries, including a 14-yard long.
Penn State does have an uncharacteristic 107 yards early on, so the scoreboard might not remain static for long.
Related: Jerry Sandusky fallout, replacing Joe Paterno, and Penn State's movement to support sexual abuse survivors. For more on the Nittany Lions, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries. More college football news.
12th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions will play its first game that doesn't involve Joe Paterno in some capacity since 1950 when they host the 19th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Penn State community was rocked by scandal over the course of the past week as numerous allegations of child sex abuse were levied against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. And while the students took criticism for Wednesday night's "riots," or protest following the announcement that Joe Paterno was fired, they deserve praise for what's planned on Friday.
Instead of the traditional Friday night pep rally, the students reportedly plan to hold a candlelight vigil.
#PSU students canceled pep rally tomorrow, have candlelight vigil for victims. Expecting 8,000-10,000
Additionally, those coming to Saturday's game against Nebraska were asked to wear blue to raise awareness for child abuse. Where Wednesday night's rally was ugly and destructive, Friday's planned candlelight vigil presents an opportunity for the Penn State students and community to begin the healing process and focus on what's important here: the victims.
Cars.com has pulled its sponsorship of two ESPN College Football Saturday broadcasts, according to a report on Thursday. Both broadcasts involve Penn State: the first is the Nittany Lions matchup with Nebraska this weekend and the second is the Penn State vs. Ohio State game next weekend. The move is temporary and appears to come as a result of the scandal that's rocked the Penn State campus in the wake of sex abuse allegations levied against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
It's unclear whether more sponsors would pull out of broadcasts involving Penn State, but ad agencies may be mulling it over.
Gary Carr, senior vp/executive director of national broadcast for media-buying agency TargetCast tcm -- who doesn't have any clients in these games -- said: "I would probably pull out." Still another media executive said: "We are asking the question; we haven't decided yet."
It's unclear whether more companies would follow Cars.com or if many are considering pulling their sponsorship dollars out.
Penn State assistant Mike McQueary will not coach this weekend after receiving multiple threats ahead of the Nittany Lions matchup with Nebraska. McQueary will not be at Saturdays game at all, staying away from the stadium completely instead of coaching from the press box as some had hypothesized he would.
Due to multiple threats made against Assistant Coach Mike McQueary, the University has decided it would be in the best interest of all for Assistant Coach McQueary not to be in attendance at Saturday's Nebraska game.
McQueary has come under fire for failing to call police after allegedly witnessing Jerry Sandusky rape a young child in the shower in the Penn State locker room in 2002. McQueary was a graduate assistant at the time and told head coach Joe Paterno of the incident the next day, after consulting with his father.
It remains unclear what McQueary's role with the team will be going forward.
The Penn State football team will take the field for Senior Day on Saturday, and according to a report on Thursday night coaches asked that friends and family of the players wear white in support of Joe Paterno.
Multiple sources connected with the Penn State football team tell TMZ ... coaches held a meeting with players today and told them their friends and family should show support for ousted coach Joe Paterno by wearing white to the game on Saturday.
The veracity of the report is unknown, but if true, this seems like a bad idea all around. The players and coaching staff are loyal to Paterno -- that's understandable. But asking for friends and family to wear white when a huge movement to have those in attendance wear blue to support victims of child abuse seems unsavory. Going against an established, and great, cause would seem to create a volatile situation in a stadium that will already be incredibly emotionally charged.
Again, nothing about the report has been confirmed, and who knows if this will actually take place. As of now, the Penn State community has asked fans to wear blue as a symbol of support for the victims.
After Penn State interim head football coach Tom Bradley announced that embattled assistant Mike McQuery would remain with the team in some capacity this Saturday against Nebraska, the Board of Trustees let it be known that they preferred if McQuery were not on the sidelines during the game.
When asked directly, interim Penn State President Rod Erickson gave the distinct impression that the chances McQuery will still be with the team at all come Saturday are diminishing.
When asked if McQueary was still on staff, acting PSU president Rod Erickson said "as I said, you'll hear more."
Interim PSU president Rod Erickson said of McQueary "you may hear something later this evening or tomorrow morning."
At this point, it's hard to believe McQueary will still be with the program by Saturday, one more casualty of the scandal.
Less than 24 hours ago Joe Paterno was the head coach of Penn State. Now, not only is he out of a job, he won't even be in the stadium when the Nittany Lions host the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a pivotal Big Ten matchup on Saturday. According to ESPN's Joe Schad, Paterno will not attend the game to avoid any more of a spectacle than what has already transpired.
If you haven't been following along, Penn State's campus was overrun by thousands of student protesters on Wednesday night after the school's Board of Trustees announced that Paterno had been fired for failing to notify the police upon being informed of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's alleged molestation of a 10-year-old boy in the team's locker room back in 2002. The news that the head coach of 46 years has been let go has, unsurprisingly, incurred the full spectrum of emotions among fans and media members alike.
The Nittany Lions are currently undefeated in the Big Ten and vying for a spot in the league's inaugural championship game. On top of all of the off field distractions, the team also faces its toughest three-game stretch of the season, with road trips to Columbus, OH, and Madison, WI, on tap after Saturday.
Penn St. Nittany Lions interim head coach Tom Bradley told reporters Thursday that Mike McQueary, the former GA who reported the 2002 Jerry Sandusky allegation to Joe Paterno, will remain in his capacity as an assistant and will be with the team in some form this Saturday.
The Penn State Board of Trustees have now asked Bradley to keep McQueary off the field during Saturday's nationally-televised game against Nebraska.
The trustee told The Morning Call in an exclusive interview that the board made the request out of concern for McQueary's safety.
According to the Morning Call, the board does not plan to fire McQueary or ask him to step down. This according to a trustee who has asked not to be identified.
Expect Bradley to comply with the BOT and keep McQuery off the field. Likely he'll end up in one of the coaching booths, if he's even in the stadium at all.
SB Nation ticketing partner TiqIQ reports that prices for Penn State's game against Nebraska peaked when Paterno announced his retirement, but quickly dipped after he was fired.
In light of the showy but evocative riots that spread across Penn State's campus Wednesday night, it's understandable some might worry about playing a Big Ten football game in front of 100,000 people only days later. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are scheduled to be in town, and one University of Nebraska regent has expressed concerns:
Regent Tim Clare of Lincoln said he began worrying about safety while watching televised coverage of the scene in State College, Pa., after coach Joe Paterno's firing Wednesday night. He said Penn State has a raucous atmosphere on a normal football Saturday, and the school owes Nebraska answers.
This isn't really the same kind of thing as when Louisville was reportedly thinking about keeping its cheerleaders out of Morgantown. It's the job of higher-ups to think of stuff like this to be concerned about. I'd expect a peaceful afternoon, with many older fans and alums in the building, along with a few days worth of cooldown for emotional students. But it would probably still be wise for police to field an increased presence.
Tom Bradley, longtime Penn St. Nittany Lions defensive coordinator, was introduced as the team's interim coach at a Thursday morning press conference. Bradley is taking over for Joe Paterno, who you may have heard has coached in Happy Valley for 61 years. Paterno was fired Wednesday night due to the ongoing Jerry Sandusky scandal.
"I take this job with very mixed emotions," Bradley said, seated in front of a blue Nittany Lions backdrop and wearing a gold tie. He mentioned team meetings, hearing from former players who will attend on Saturday, planned meetings with recruits, and a captains' gathering in preparation of the Nebraska game.
"The football part, we'll get working on that right away," Bradley said, "For now, you should know our team's thoughts and prayers are with those children and their families."
Bradley said Mike McQueary, the former GA who reported the 2002 Sandusky allegation to Paterno, will remain in his capacity as an assistant, but didn't say where he'd be positioned in the stadium. He also declared Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden will take over as co-coordinators on defense.
When asked about whether Penn State will play any games after the Nebraska game, he boggled a little bit. "What do you mean?" he said, eventually saying the rest of the season is up to the school's administration, but he hopes to finish it out. He said canceling games hasn't been discussed.
"Joe Paterno has meant more to me than anybody but my father," Bradley said, adding that he's comfortably coached on the sideline before with Paterno either in the press box or unavailable.
He also said, "Coach Paterno will go down in history as one of the greatest men -- most of you know him as a football coach -- I've had the privilege to work with him. He's had a dynamic impact on so many, so many -- I'll say I, so many -- people and player's lives. I'm proud to say that I worked with him."
He was asked many times about Paterno's exit, but declined to comment on the investigation, Sandusky, McQueary's role, his own future as a potential non-interim coach, Paterno's firing and so forth, deferring the McQueary question to acting athletic director Mark Sherburne.
Penn St. Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno will not coach another game, according to Jim Gardner of ABC's affiliate on the scene of Wednesday night's board of trustees meeting. Tom Bradley will take over as Penn State's interim coach, according to Gardner.
Bradley is Penn State's defensive coordinator. He grew up in Pennsylvania and played defensive back for Paterno in the mid-'70s, and has been considered a potential successor along the way. He took over for Jerry Sandusky in 1999.
The Nittany Lions have three regular season games left, starting this Saturday at home against Nebraska. Paterno had planned to finish out the season, but forced the board of trustees to make the final decision on his future.
Penn St. Nittany Lions assistant coach Mike McQueary, the former graduate assistant who told Joe Paterno in 2002 about seeing Jerry Sandusky molest a young boy in Penn State's locker room, might not make it to the sideline on Saturday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Musselman.
@rmusselmanppg I am told that Penn State wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary is uncertain if he will coach Saturday.
McQueary wasn't at practice on Tuesday, with Chris Fowler reporting he'd been declared to be on a recruiting trip. That's not all that easy to believe, since there's no way he could effectively convince anyone to play for Penn State with this going on. "On leave" would probably be a more accurate way to put it, but I guess you never know.
Penn State's football players were called to a meeting with Joe Paterno at 11 a.m. to discuss his retirement. That meeting, understandably, got a bit emotional. The Daily Collegian's Joe McIntyre and SB Nation's Black Shoe Diaries' Ben Jones both tweeted players' reactions.
Joe told players he's retiring. Will be here until end of season. Joe was emotional, crying. #PennState
Nate Stupar said players emotional, too. Never saw Joe cry before.
It was a sad mood. Joe was very emotional. -Derek Moye
Team captain Quinn Barham walked away from Lasch with a hood over his head. Did not talk.
Drew Astorino says "Obviously a tough time for everyone at PSU. Team is handling it well."
Astorino on the room when Joe told the team: "It was tough to hear. Everybody was obviously very emotional, very upset."
Astorino says he doesn't know what to expect from the crowd this weekend.
Referring to Sandusky being around the football building, Astorino: "Not going to comment on that."
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