Penn State loses last home game amid child sex abuse scandal
Penn State lost to Nebraska 17-14 on Saturday, tarnishing its perfect Big Ten football record during its last home game of the season.
But attention was largely focused outside the lines after last week’s shocking child sexual abuse scandal, which centered on the team’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
“This has been one of the saddest weeks in the history of Penn State,” said the university’s new president Rodney Erikson. “My heart goes out to those were victimized.”
Erikson replaced former president Graham Spanier following the start of an investigation into the former coach, accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.
Also noticeably absent from Saturday’s game was the winningest coach in top-level college football history: Joe Paterno.
The longtime Penn State head coach was fired Wednesday after failing to notify police of the scandal that implicated several school officials, leaving behind a cloud of uncertainly and heavy emotions on campus, some of which boiled over in the form of riots.
“I know that’s emotional for him,” interim coach Tom Bradley told ESPN. “I imagine if he does watch the game on TV, he might watch it at home by himself.”
“In my mind, coach should be with right with us,” added the interim coach.
Bradley, who’s been part of the team’s coaching staff for the last 33 years, said he told the team before the game to “represent Penn State in a proper manner.”
The university’s new president on Saturday pledged to help rebuild the school’s image as a mix of emotions swirled across State College, Pennsylvania.
“Although we cannot go back to business as usual, our university must move forward,” said Erikson.