Penn State Scandal: Nebraska Will Add to PSU Turmoil

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIINovember 11, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 15:  Rob Bolden #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions hands the ball off to Curtis Dukes #26 against the Purdue Boilermakers during the game on October 15, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  The Nittany Lions defeated the Boilermakers 23-18.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Despite the dark cloud hanging over Penn State University, the Nittany Lions have a football game on Saturday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers—but the distractions will prove too much.

Currently ranked No. 12 in the AP Top 25 and the BCS, the Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) are in a good place to make a run for a prestigious bowl game.

However, the child-sex scandal surrounding the school has completely taken the attention away from the football game, and rightfully so. The players on the team don’t deserve this, but they could find solace in the fact that Jerry Sandusky has been caught for the alleged offenses.

The Nittany Lions carry the third-ranked defense in to this week’s game against No. 19 Nebraska and its high-powered rushing attack. The Cornhuskers are coming off a 28-25 loss to Northwestern, so they need a big win against Penn State to right the ship.

It’s senior day for the Nittany Lions, so the Penn State players will be honored before the game. However, everything will feel off at Beaver Stadium. The crowd will cheer for Joe Paterno and against Jerry Sandusky, but focus on the game will be hard to find.

The players believe they have a good grip on the situation. Senior safety Drew Astorino, one of 20 seniors on the team, was quoted as saying this by Bernard Fernandez of the Philadelphia Daily News.

"Obviously, this is a pretty tough time for everybody here at Penn State. It’s been a very tough situation to deal with. But I think myself and the team are handling it well. First of all, we feel horrible for the victims and their families. We think about them all the time. But the 125 guys on this team had nothing to do with (the horrific acts) what happened years ago.”

The key part of what Astorino said is his admittance that it’s on the players’ mind “all the time.”

How do you think he and the team will react to some of the posters and chants from the crowd? One thing’s for sure, the team will be watching the crowd at times when they usually watch the game.

The players on the field are still kids, and they’re caught up in something bigger than the game. I know if I was on the field for Penn State, I would be distracted.

On the other side, right or not, the Cornhuskers will be looking to stick it to the fledgling university. The Cornhuskers know they have the advantage of focus on football, and will use it against the Nittany Lions.

The Penn State players don’t deserve to be caught up in this, but it will cost them a game on Saturday.