After abuse scandal sent shock waves across campus, Penn State fans look to healing

    Penn State lost its last home game of the season to Nebraska, but for many fans at Beaver Stadium, Saturday wasn’t about the final score.Nittany Lions’ marching band played to cheers and chanting from a crowd eager to rally after a sexual abuse scandal dominated campus conversation and the news this week.Ross Burton, from Enola, has two daughters in Penn State’s Blue Band, and high-fived band members as they marched into the stadium, calling out “we need you, we need you more than ever.””It’s all about healing, it’s the football team, and the Blue Band, and the cheerleaders, and it’s all about the student body today.  And it’s not premature,” said Burton.  Today’s the first day of healing.  And it’s been wonderful.  It’ll be wonderful.  It’s going to take a long time.Burton said he likes to cheer on the band.”My hands are sore today from clapping.  This is what the stadium needs, they need the music, and they need to put it behind ’em,” added Burton.Burton said he comes to a few games every season – he didn’t have tickets for this game, though.  He said he came just to rally the students.Andrew Kalista’s family has been tailgating at Penn State games all his life.  He said he never thought it made any sense that some wanted to cancel the game for the sake of the abuse victims.  “The game is about healing,” he said. And added that Joe Paterno should be here.”I hope he’s watching the game with Tostitos and salsa, and you know, cheering on my guys, and I hope he’s yelling at Tom Bradley, and yelling at his kids and saying, what the heck are you guys doing?” said Kalista.The tone of Saturday’s Penn State-Nebraska game was one of mutual respect, and 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.But Shane Valverde, originally from Nebraska and now living in Virginia Beach, proudly wore red for the game. He said Nebraska feels deeply for Penn State.”We have a lot of respect for the Penn State program.  Paterno, Osborne – they go back a gener—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?” said Valverde.Nebraska won the game, 17 to 14.A steady stream of fans – in both Penn State blue and Cornhusker red – posed for pictures with a statue of Joe Paterno, ousted Wednesday by the school’s Board of Trustees after people questioned he did all he could to report alleged child abuse by his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.The wall behind the statue has a quote from Paterno: “They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone.  I hope they write I made Penn State a better place.”From their spots on the sidewalk, fans wondered aloud if the quote will come true.

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