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Dr. Saturday

Penn State’s post-Paterno era begins with a moment of silence

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Prior Saturday's game between Penn State and Nebraska, the players, coaches, staff and even the swarm of former Nittany Lions, met at midfield and took a knee in prayer.

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JoeP Guy

The stadium fell silent as a Nebraska running backs coach Ron Brown delivered the prayer while the fans looked on, some of them crying.

It was a release of a week's worth of emotion that saw a child sex-abuse scandal devastate the campus and the Penn State community and coach Joe Paterno lose his job. Penn State players and fans wore blue to show support for child abuse victims and there were blue ribbons throughout the stadium. Nebraska kneeling with Penn State was not necessarily in support of the school, chancellor Harvey Perlman already made Nebraska's stance on that, but for thechild  abuse suffered at the hands of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The silence was in direct contrast to the ovation Penn State received when its buses rolled up to Beaver Stadium and fans lined the walkway to cheer their presence and give the players high fives. A seat at the front of the bus was left empty for coach Joe Paterno.

[Related: Penn State takes first steps toward redemption]

In the locker room, interim head coach Tom Bradley read a letter from Paterno that asked the players to play the game and not think about him. But that was a tall task as JoePa's presence was felt throughout the stadium from the signs in the crowd to the way the players walked out of the tunnel arm-in-arm, showing their solidarity. At the beginning of the second half, the fans chanted "Joe-Pa" as the Nittany Lions came back onto the field.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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