"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernie Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Nearly 110,000 people, most dressed in white, crowded Beaver Stadium less than 12 months removed from the devastating Sandusky scandal. They came to cheer our unranked Nittany Lions, riding a 5-game winning streak, against the soulless #9 Buckeyes in a contest for supremacy of the Leaders division, and, though neither team can compete for it, the Big Ten. No one outside of Happy Valley considered the game or the crowd a possibility before the season, and certainly not after the Lions started 0-2.
Yet there they both were, a deafening crowd and an historic team, raging through the night as millions across the nation watched at home. We fell short, of course, but not by much. Ohio State's QB Braxton Miller made a couple of incredible plays, and their defense played their best game of the season by far to exit Beaver Stadium with a hard fought victory.
Afterward, a few reporters questioned if Penn State coaches and players can recover from such a gut wrenching home loss on college's biggest stage. They've learned nothing about this team. The world already broke those places, and worse, over the previous 11 months.
Three Completely Random, Probably Useless Thoughts
1) Immediately following the loss, I see that it's a very thin line that separates me from Harvey Updyke, the Alabama fan who (allegedly) poisoned Toomer's Trees after Auburn beat the Crimson Tide. The difference? Harvey's just a little more creative, a little less lazy than I. Consider yourself fortunate, Columbus.
2) Bill Carollo, head of Big Ten officiating - how do you run that crew out there for a big game? Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman spent the entire evening charitably describing the calls and non-calls as 'questionable', 'confusing', and 'mysterious'. With millions watching, you convinced them all that the Big Ten sucks by giving us a crew that a high school would mock. Pathetic.
3) As 250-lb TE Jake Stoneburner sprinted away from 205-lb safety Jake Fagnano, after hauling in a perfectly thrown pass from Heisman candidate Braxton Miller, I'm betting Mark Emmert was smiling. The team that 'ain't come to play skool' snuck past the team that graduates 91% of all student athletes, and 94% of African American student athletes - 30% above the national average, and light years ahead of Emmert's two most recent universities, Washington and LSU. I'm certain that this was exactly what that d**khead's "package of sanctions" was intended to create, because he mistakenly thinks the Penn State Pride came from football victory-at-all-costs, as it did at the schools he oversaw. That's just how stupid he really is. Our crime wasn't missing a pedophile who had disguised himself as a humanitarian, it was pride: pride at recruiting within the rules, graduating athletes, and occasionally making a run on the field, while many other institutions were caught cheating just to win a stupid football game. You're a dope, Emmert, if you think that any Penn Stater could be less proud of this team. There were nearly 110,000 there Saturday night to prove it.
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