With tens of thousands of its fans shouting, "We are - Penn State," the university's football team walked onto Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon locked arm in arm.
Minus their legendary coach Joe Paterno
, who was relieved of his duties this week in the aftermath of sexual abuse allegations surrounding one of his former assistant coaches, Penn State was awash in emotion before and after a hard-fought loss to Nebraska.
Prior to the game, players from Penn State and Nebraska knelt on the field in prayer and then a moment of silence was held at the stadium for all victims of child abuse.
Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing several young boys and Paterno got caught up in the storm this week, having been accused by many across the country -- including the parents of the alleged victims -- of not doing enough when he got word of Sandusky's alleged actions back in 2002.
Paterno himself has said he wished he had done more.
After the game was over, interim coach Tom Bradley told ESPN this is an "unprecedented moment in college sports." Bradley said he told the players he was "proud of them for hanging tough as a team and hanging together as a family."
Joe Paterno's son Jay, a quarterbacks coach at Penn State, was on the sidelines for the game but took center stage after it was over.
When asked by ESPN about a letter he had given his parents at their home before the game, he said, "I told them I love them" and then, breaking down, tearfully adding he wished his dad were there and that he missed him at the contest.
One banner at Beaver Stadium read, "This One's For You, Joe" and another simply said, "We Love You, Joe."
Fittingly, as fans rallied their support for the team, Penn State rallied from a 17-0 deficit to Nebraska and even though they lost 17-14, their fans gave them a loud and long standing ovation as they gathered on the field for a post-game prayer with Nebraska players and then left the field.
Interim Penn State President Rodney Erickson faced reporters after the contest. Erickson said a crisis management firm has been hired by the university to help players, students and faculty get through what continues to be a highly emotional time enveloping Penn State and the community.
When asked by a reporter why the Penn State Board of Trustees felt it necessary to hold a late night news conference to announce the firing of the head coach and university president Graham Spanier, Erickson replied, "The board felt it had to move decisively and that's what it did."
The FBI is investigating two bomb threats that were apparently called in Friday night with Beaver Stadium the target of the threat.
The bureau checked out the stadium and found no explosive devices but the investigation continues.
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