Penn State Nebraska
November 14, 2011 by staff
Penn State Nebraska, The Penn State Nittany Lions stole all the focus, attention and controversy when they faced the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Nov. 12. But while Penn State fans like myself worried about the aftermath of the sex scandal and of Joe Paterno’s firing, and of the behavior of students, Nebraska laid in wait in the shadows to actually escape with a win.
While Penn State captured the ire of the nation, the only ones that really needed to focus on football were from Nebraska. The Nittany Lions can never shake the scandal from their minds for the rest of the season and beyond, yet the Cornhuskers still have a football season that they can better focus on – and a season they were trying to save in Happy Valley.
Nebraska may have benefited on the field from the distractions that tore Penn State apart. However, the Cornhuskers did take advantage, rolled to a big lead and kept their hopes for a division title alive. What’s more, they erased the memories of an ugly upset loss at home to the Northwestern Wildcats on Nov. 5 – although that defeat seems even more inexcusable after this win.
Not only did this win keep 8-2 Nebraska upright and on pace for 10 wins this year, it played a big part before and after the game to keep things sailing along. It was easy to fear that Penn State would make things worse for itself by even playing and risking another negative spectacle. But the Cornhuskers helped the Nittany Lions set the somber, reflective tone that was needed by taking part in a pre-game midfield prayer – led by Nebraska’s own assistant coach Ron Brown.
Coach Bo Pelini also didn’t shy away from what happened after the game, as he revealed in his postgame press conference that he didn’t want to play at first. In a week where Penn State’s priorities were constantly questioned and re-evaluated, Pelini showed that his perspective didn’t waver when he said the alleged crimes were “a lot bigger than football.” Factions at Penn State didn’t seem to realize that at various points in the past week, yet Nebraska and Pelini appeared to have a more complete view from an outsider’s perspective.
But when the game was played, the Cornhuskers used it to play their part in helping Penn State pay a proper tribute. Then they went out and beat the Nittany Lions in a win that didn’t mean as much as it would have a week earlier. Yet at least on the field, the win was important to keep Nebraska’s Big Ten dreams and hopes for a prestigious bowl bid alive. And even though that might have been both easier and harder to achieve for the Cornhuskers in the midst of the scandal, they pulled through.
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