In the waning moments of the game, a horrible thought came to mind. What if (God forbid) Penn State were to win the *^&$! game? I kept thinking how grotesque it would be to watch the TV replay of Penn State players marching to Joe Paterno's house, presenting him with the game ball. If that image didn't send chills down your spine, I don't know what would.
More later on the Penn State Nightmare.
Not enough can be said about the prayer circle led by Husker assistant Ron Brown at midfield just before kickoff. I've seen a lot of Husker football games over the past six decades and can't recall an event as moving as this one. It was players and fans of both teams coming together as one to pray for the victims of the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the very foundation of Penn State University.
The prayer circle was the right thing to do at the right time. And that Nebraska was the Nittany Lions' opponent Saturday was altogether fitting and proper. People will be talking about this for years to come. Thanks, Coach Brown. You are a very, very classy act.
Last week, Bo Pelini downplayed the effect that the Penn State scandal was going to have on the Huskers' ability to get ready to play the game. To be sure, most of the media attention was centered on Penn State, but I have to believe that the scandal had to have been on the minds of the Husker players as well. And for Nebraska to have played as well as it did - a BIG game in a hostile environment - speaks well of the Husker coaching staff's ability to get their players ready mentally and physically.
THE STAR OF DAVID
There were many great plays for Nebraska Saturday, not the least of which was Lavonte David's crushing tackle of Penn State running back Silas Redd on a key late fourth-down attempt. Or, how about Brett Maher's booming punt late in the game that pushed the Lions back to their own 11 yard line? Or the skillful play of QB Taylor Martinez and the tough yards gained by Rex Burkhead? Down the stretch, the Huskers made plays when they had to. At times it wasn't pretty, but given that this was an emotional road game and the Huskers were as beat up as they were, this was a heck of a win.
THE HAPPY VALLEY NIGHTMARE
Getting back to the game ball.
Thank God the Lions lost. Thank God that the victims were spared the added humiliation of having the game ball awarded to Paterno, who likely will be facing myriad civil lawsuits for his part in the cover-up of the child sex abuse scandal that may be the iceberg that sinks the entire PSU program.
Thank God Paterno's name has been removed from the B1G championship trophy. Thank God Paterno has been removed from consideration for a Presidential Medal. Thank God he is no longer the head coach of Penn State.
That people continue to stick up for Paterno is incomprehensible. I've lost all respect for former Penn State and former NFL running back Franco Harris for his defense of Paterno. (From now on, I cannot and will not refer to him as JoPa. There's something warm, fuzzy and fatherly about that name that he no longer deserves.) Mr. Harris thinks not only that Paterno shouldn't have been fired, but the University should re-hire him immediately. Harris is either woefully misinformed or is a complete moron.
And why would Jerry Sandusky's attorney allow Sandusky to be interviewed on TV? Has his counselor lost his mind? And during the interview, Sandusky proclaimed his innocence. How stupid does he think we all are?
BLAME THE GAME?
The blame, some say, lands squarely on the game of college football. Universities put more emphasis on winning games than they do trying to educate the student body. Of course, there is some truth to that.
Major college athletic departments are multimillion-dollar businesses within the universities. The people running these departments wield an enormous amount of power and influence. And not surprisingly, supporters try to use their donations to gain access to the coaches and athletes.
It has been said that the way to find out someone's character is to give him power.
And Joe Paterno had a lot of power. Joe was revered for what he did on the field (the most wins in major college football history with 409) and his positive impact on his players. But his "legacy" will forever be tarnished, as it should be. Shame on you, coach, you should have known better. You should have done something to make sure the child sexual abuse going on in your athletic facilities came to an end long ago. Instead, you and a bunch of other seemingly intelligent people looked the other way and did nothing.
Beverly Kracher and Jerry Stegeman wrote a book called "Ethinary," which is a dictionary of ethics. Their book defines "corrupt" as "Rotten, working against the good. When you smell it, get rid of it before it spoils the whole barrel."
Joe Paterno, ironically in his very last game as Penn State's head coach, notched his 409th career football victory, breaking the late Eddie Robinson's record of 408 at Grambling. In 1957, Clorox invented a cleaner and sanitizer called Formula 409. It was introduced just a few years after Paterno began his coaching career as an assistant at Penn State. But all the cleaners and in the world won't wash away the foulness of this scandal.
From here on, PSU should just be called P.U. because this one really stinks.
Many have called for a time of healing at Penn State University. And while that's a nice thought, civil lawsuits could go on for years, if not decades, and every time there is any news pertaining to them, the bleeding scab will be ripped open.
Has it ever happened in Nebraska football history that the Husker had 11:00 (Central) kickoffs in three games in the same season? Or on consecutive Saturdays? I didn't think so.
1962 WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR
The 1962 Michigan-Nebraska game played a big part in the history of Husker football. That year the game was only Bob Devaney's second as the Husker head coach.
Nebraska traveled to Ann Arbor after an opening-season 53-0 home win over a hapless South Dakota team. To be sure, the '62 Michigan team was not a vintage Wolverine team, but when the Huskers came away with a 25-13 victory, all hell broke loose in Nebraska. Big Red was back. And ironically, Nebraska football had been saved by a red-headed former boxer from Alma, Michigan. Thank goodness Bob Devaney came along when he did.
As far as Saturday's game goes, Nebraska is a 3 1/2 point dog. That's fine. If the Huskers come away with a win, it will be because they didn't beat themselves, committed no turnovers and had few (if any) penalties. Let's hope the luck of the bounce goes Nebraska's way.
A BIG OOPS!
Since the Huskers' win over Michigan State, there wasn't a team Nebraska couldn't beat or be beaten by. And the loss to Northwestern made that painfully true.
Can Nebraska come out of the Big House with a win? Sure. But they are going to have to take care of business. (How's that for going out on a limb?)
KIWANIS CLUB OF BELLEVUE (NEBRASKA)
We are living in some pretty strange times, but it's nice to know there are people trying to do good in the world. I had the pleasure of speaking recently to the Kiwanis Club of Bellevue (http://www.bokiwanis.org/public/pub_...x?PageID=35138). The president, Doris Urwin, and Bill O'Brien, who invited me to speak, could not have been nicer. Their organization actively supports such causes as the Food Pantry and Habitat For Humanity and never fails to honor our veterans. We salute all your hard work in making this world a better place to live in.
If you'd like me to speak at your organization, please email me at HuskerDan@cox.net.