Penn State Plays 1st Game Since Sex Scandal

New coach Bill O'Brien gets strong support from fans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2012 1:49 PM CDT
Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, center, stands in front of Penn State quarterbacks Paul Jones (7) Steven Bench, right, at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012.   (Gene J. Puskar)
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(Newser) – Penn State fans ushered in a new era in the football program with a raucous ovation as the team stormed the field for the first game under coach Bill O'Brien. O'Brien, the former offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, led the charge in the first home opener without Joe Paterno since 1949. More than 80,000 fans chanted the familiar "We are .. Penn State!" shortly before kickoff against Ohio. After scandal rocked the program, the Penn State community is ready to put the focus back on football.

Penn State held a moment of reflection for all victims of sexual abuse. And all 31 Penn State teams and more than 600 athletes were invited on the field before the game as part of Penn State's "One Team" motto. Though the statue of Hall of Famer Joe Paterno was removed July 22, a fan placed a Paterno bobblehead between the trees. "It makes you wanna cry," said one fan after seeing the bobblehead. As for the game, Penn State blew an 11-point halftime lead to lose 24-14 to the Bobcats. (Read more Penn State sex abuse stories.)

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