Penn

(Photo: Reuters) Penn State and Nebraska players gather at midfield for a moment of silence before their game Saturday. It was the first game for Penn State since the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Penn State fell to Nebraska on Saturday in State College, Pa., completing perhaps the most trying week in school history with a loss on the field that was overshadowed by the events around campus for the past couple days.

Before the game, players from both the Nittany Lions and Cornhuskers met at midfield and kneeled for a long moment of silence in a deadpanned stadium. The Penn State players trotted out without their legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Loud cheers roared through the Nittany Lions' student section, reducing assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden to tears and clearly moved interim head coach Tom Bradley.

This scene was the culmination of a week in which the 46-year head coach Paterno was fired by the university's Board of Trustees amid an ongoing sex abuse scandal with former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The national spotlight descended upon Penn State, and with seemingly every new day a shocking new revelation with the Sandusky scandal descended the school even further.

Penn State lost to Nebraska, 17-14, unable to overcome an early 17-point deficit. But the result didn't matter much, aside from adding extra salt in the wounds of the 107,903 who showed up with their usual cheers of, We are ... Penn State!

I think you saw a lot of character, a lot of resolve, by this team, Bradley told reporters after the game. I liked the way they stuck together.

On the field, Penn State rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit. Running back Stephfon Green scored two touchdowns - one in the third and one in the fourth quarter - to set up a dramatic final five minutes.

And in the final four minutes, Penn State had two chances to complete the rally and complete something uplifting. On both drives, they turned the ball over on downs.

After the game, Bradley continued his postgame press conference with reporters by focusing on the alleged eight victims of Sandusky.

We grieve for the victims, Bradley told reporters after the game. We feel sad for the families and the children. What went on today was all about them.

The day served as a flood of emotions, most notably from quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, son of Joe, after the game. He told reporters he wrote a letter to his parents before the game, and after he said what it contained, he burst into tears.

Just how proud I am of them. And, Dad, I wish you were here, Jay Paterno said of his letter to his parents.

Images emerging from the game showed the wounds still lingered from Paterno's firing. Paterno was fired on Wednesday by Penn State's Board of Trustees, along with school president Graham Spanier.

The board determined that Paterno had not done enough to prevent Sandusky's ongoing inappropriate behavior with young boys.

Allegations of Sandusky's contact with young boys date as far back as 1995. Paterno's role came in 2002, when he was told by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary - now the team's wide receivers coach - that McQueary had seen Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the shower.

Paterno notified Penn State athletic director Tim Curley the next day. But even after meeting with McQueary, Curley and Gary Schultz - Penn State's vice president for finance and business - did not report the incident. This week, they were both charged with perjury. Sandusky was indicted on 40 counts of sexual-abuse charges.

Meanwhile, McQueary was not on the sidelines Saturday, a day after Penn State said as much in a statement because he had received threats. Later Friday, the school announced it had placed McQueary on paid administrative leave.

On Saturday, The Patriot-News reported that McQueary would no longer be the school's receivers coach. The paper said McQueary had informed his receivers of the move on a conference call Friday afternoon.

On Friday night, the Penn State campus held a vigil for the eight victims of Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse.

And on Saturday, the campus continued to the healing process from the fallout.

We wanted to demonstrate, not just in the Penn State community but to rest of world, that Penn State is a caring community, new president Rod Erickson told reporters after the game.

That Penn State will move forward with a sense of purpose. And that, hopefully, there are elements of good that can come out of situation we found ourselves in this past week.