Local
4:11 pm
Sun November 13, 2011

PSU Fans Show Solidarity at Beaver Stadium

The tone of Saturday's Penn State-Nebraska game was one of mutual respect. Nebraska fans remarked at how welcomed they felt by the host team.

Nebraska's athletic director, Tom Osborne, had urged Cornhusker fans not to stick out this weekend, after a a week of turmoil following the news of a sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University.

But Shane Valverde, originally from Nebraska and now living in Virginia Beach, proudly wore red for the game.

He said that Nebraska feels deeply for Penn State.

"We have a lot of respect for the Penn State program," said Valverde. "Paterno, Osborne, they go back a couple of generations, almost. So our ties, I think, are pretty strong and, you know, it's kind of like two kids on the block growing up together their entire lives, you know?"

Nebraska won the game, 17 to 14.

It was Penn State's last home game of the season, and the first in 46 years without Joe Paterno as head coach. Paterno was fired on Wednesday in the fallout resulting from charges of sexual abuse against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

PSU fan Andrew Kalista said this game was as important as any he's attended.

"I took two days without pay to make sure I was here, and when I saw everybody, I just broke down and started crying," said Kalista. "We need this. The people that are saying you have to cancel the game and everything? You can't cancel the game; it's what brings you back together."

At the game, Kalista spoke in support of Joe Paterno.

"I hope he's watching the game with Tostitos and salsa, and you know, cheering on my guys," said Kalista, "and I hope he's yelling at [interim coach] Tom Bradley, and yelling at his kids and saying, 'What the heck are you guys doing?'"

Kalista's comments were echoed by many at the game, where a crowd of fans flocked to the statue of Joe Paterno to take pictures with the icon. The Penn State Blue Band and the Glee Club also performed the school's Alma Mater repeatedly to a Penn State crowd much more somber than in the past.