Nightly News | November 12, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Finally tonight, the sex abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State has also shaken one of its most enduring institutions, football. But Penn State Nation , as some call it, is more than sport, it is a deeply ingrained tradition that spans across generations, but one that may never again be quite the same. Here's NBC's Peter Alexander .
PETER ALEXANDER reporting: With all the rituals here, the marching band parading through the street, the Nittany Lions ' heroic pregame arrival, there was something comfortably familiar about this fall Saturday, even if everything had changed.
Unidentified Woman #1: Penn State gets into your blood and it doesn't leave and it never will.
ALEXANDER: That's why tens of thousands of Penn State fans returned to Beaver Stadium today, still stunned by the horrific allegations of child sexual abuse, but here to show their love and loyalty for the blue and white they so revere. After a week of turmoil, game day offered State College a sorely needed distraction.
Unidentified Man: Let's go , baby, woo!
Unidentified Woman #2: I think that it's one of the things that kind of helps us like stay together, in a way. So I think it couldn't have been better timing for a football game .
ALEXANDER: Ron Wasson , class of '73, has only missed a single home game in the last 14 years.
Mr. RON WASSON: It's not the buildings. It's really not the individual people. It's everything.
ALEXANDER: The community.
Mr. WASSON: The community. It just becomes ingrained in you.
ALEXANDER: This week here in an area known as Happy Valley , fans have been overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. From anger following the firing of their legendary coach Joe Paterno who commanded this program since LBJ was in office, to empathy for the victims, 10,000 gathering for a candlelight vigil.
Unidentified Woman #3: It's the end of innocence . It's the end of Camelot . This was Camelot .
ALEXANDER: For Penn State fans.
Woman #3: Yes. It's the end.
ALEXANDER: Penn State football has long celebrated success with honor, but now this campus is in mourning. As one fan described it, it's like losing your favorite uncle.
Crowd: We are Penn State !
ALEXANDER: This community that proclaims "we are Penn State " today trying to recapture its proud identity. Peter Alexander , NBC News, State College , Pennsylvania.