Nightly News | November 12, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: On a fall Saturday afternoon in State College , Pennsylvania , there's usually nothing more important than Penn State football . But the sea of blue that filled the stadium stands today worn by fans in solidarity with the victims of sexual abuse said it all as the legendary Nittany Lions lost their first game in 46 years without coach Joe Paterno . Today was Penn State 's first home game since the sickening allegations of child sexual abuse by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky . And accusations of cover-up against those who should have known better, costing coach Paterno , among others, their jobs. The 17-14 loss to Nebraska was played against a backdrop of security threats, recrimination and bewildering disappointment as the scope of the scandal threatens to widen. NBC 's Ron Mott leads our coverage from State College tonight. Ron , good evening.
RON MOTT reporting: Lester , good evening to you. Another coach who wasn't here is assistant coach Mike McQueary who told a grand jury about seeing a young boy being sexually assaulted in a campus shower stall back in 2002 . But the shame and the outrage his testimony produced was clearly here today. Game day again at Beaver Stadium sported the usual staples. Burgers sizzling on the grill, painted faces, that all-familiar chant.
Crowd: We are Penn State !
MOTT: But there were also strange new sights and sounds added to the rituals.
Unidentified Woman #1: Support sexual assault survivors!
MOTT: Donation buckets for victims of child abuse .
Unidentified Woman #2: Thank you.
MOTT: A call to silence in their honor. The battle charge turned somber walk minus Joe Paterno , whose replacement instead greeting the head opponent.
Unidentified Woman #3: He has been the heart of Penn State my entire life. And I just have to show support for him.
MOTT: A Paterno , though, was on the turf. Son Jay , the quarterbacks coach . While outside his father's home, people left notes of good will. Back at the stadium, tightened security to prevent a repeat of Wednesday night's violence.
On TV today, Penn State's new president: And we will rebuild the trust, honor and pride that have endured for generations.
Dr. RODNEY ERICKSON: Even President Obama weighed in last night, challenging others to also look within.
MOTT: I think it's a good time for us to do some soul searching, every institution, not just Penn State , about what our priorities are, and making sure that we understand that our first priority is protecting our kids.
President BARACK OBAMA: As Penn State continues absorbing the shock of a child abuse investigation, the faithful donned blue, both for their team and in support of those victimized by such trauma. Many former Penn State players returned to campus today to show their support for Joe Paterno and the football program, but also, they say, to express deep concerns about the allegations that were uncovered here. Ki-Jana Carter played for Penn State in the early '90s before becoming a number one pick in the NFL .
MOTT: And hopefully by bringing awareness to what has happened, what has occurred, we can bring light to somebody else so that it doesn't happen to anybody else ever again.
Mr. KI-JANA CARTER: The visiting Cornhuskers scored an early advantage, and though the home team fought to come back, they fell short by three points. Afterwards, reflections went beyond a lost game . Jay Paterno on ESPN :
MOTT: Dad, I wish you were here . We love you.
Mr. JAY PATERNO: And while victory escaped Penn State on the field, the throngs who cheered in defeat hope their biggest win is yet to come, the one they're tackling right now off the field. Late this afternoon, another campus vigil was held. They're trying to keep this attention on these alleged victims. Meantime tonight, fans have gathered outside Joe Paterno 's home. They're hoping he will come out to be saluted one
MOTT: Ron , thanks.
more time. Lester: And the man at the