COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 19: Stephfon Green #21 of the Penn State Nittany Lions outruns Tyler Moeller #26 and Orhian Johnson #19, both of the Ohio State Buckeyes, to score a touch down during the first quarter on November 19, 2011 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
This week has been anything but normal. I think we can probably agree that rehashing the events of the past 14 days would tarnish an otherwise perfect escape from the drama surrounding Penn State. It was a game that didn't matter for the Big Ten Title, but it was a game Penn State just wanted more. They had plenty to prove and they had plenty to fight for.
From the start you knew it was a game that Penn State took seriously. Matt McGloin looked as sharp as he has in his two years as a starter. His 10/18 passing day may not have been flashy, but it was efficient when it had to be. Stephfon Green ran like a man who had something to prove, his 16 carries for 93 yards came at pivotal moments in the game. Curtis Drake found his way into the playbook and made big play after big play. The defense also made just enough plays to insure that the game would not be spoiled. It wasn't always pretty, but Penn State from top to bottom played their hearts out for a full 60 minutes.
Somewhere in State College Joe Paterno watched this game and I'm sure he would have been proud of his team. Against almost all odds Penn State walked into the Horseshoe and gave everything they had, played smart, and walked out on top. They ignored the distractions and took care of what they could control. It was all he every really asked of his teams.
Moving forward Penn State has another chance to prove more people wrong. A date with Wisconsin next weekend is for all the marbles. A division title, a shot at the Big Ten title, and a chance to finish what has been possibly the most improbable seasons in Penn State history. It seems at this point that Penn State is destined to complete a title race that shouldn't have ever happened. It doesn't make any sense, but we've stopped trying to figure it out.
That feeling you have is an emotional cocktail of relief and hope. That some day soon it'll be better and that things will be like they were. Today was the second step in a healing process.
And it felt great.