No. 20 Penn State routed 45-7 by No. 15 Wisconsin
With no game to prepare for in the immediate future, Paterno now expects those emotions to hit him all at once.
Penn State was routed 45-7 at Wisconsin on Saturday, costing the Nittany Lions a spot in the Big Ten title game.
With an entire program tarnished by the child sex abuse charges against Sandusky, the Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-2) face an uncertain bowl future — and interim coach Tom Bradley, Paterno and the rest of the team's coaches await their long-term fate.
"Tomorrow I'll get to spend some time with my kids and kind of deal with this," said Paterno, a Nittany Lions assistant. "Because I haven't had a chance really to deal with everything that's happened."
Bradley was frustrated by his team's turnovers and poor tackling. But he insists that the scandal shouldn't cost the players the chance to go to a bowl.
"They weren't involved in this," Bradley said. "They worked their tail off. Hey, they were 9-3, OK? They've done everything we've asked them to do. You've got to give them credit for everything that's gone on, they've hung tough, done a great job sticking together and I'm proud of them. I'm proud of the way they behaved, I'm proud of the way they acted. My hat's off to them in a situation that's unprecedented in the history of college football."
Defensive back Drew Astorino said he would "highly disagree" with anybody who says they don't deserve a bowl game.
"This team, these people right here had nothing to do with the reason why people wouldn't want us to go to a bowl," Astorino said. "If they want to punish these 125 players for one guy's actions 10 years ago, then we can't do anything about it."
Although anything that happens on a football field pales in comparison to the allegations against Sandusky, Nittany Lions players caught in the middle of it all still hoped to rally the team for a shot at the Rose Bowl. They won at Ohio State last week, giving them a chance going into Saturday's game.
Linebacker Nate Stupar wasn't willing to blame the loss on the emotions of recent weeks.
"We were really excited for this game, going for the Big Ten championship," Stupar said. "We were excited. We just didn't make plays."
Wisconsin's Montee Ball scored four touchdowns and quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns, flustering the Nittany Lions' defense by slipping away from tackling attempts all afternoon.
The Nittany Lions started strong, taking an early 7-0 lead on a pair of big mistakes by the Badgers.
Wisconsin had Penn State stopped, but a Wisconsin player ran into Nittany Lions punter Anthony Fera to give up a first down on a penalty. Four plays later, Matt McGloin found Curtis Drake wide open — no Badgers defensive back was within 10 yards — near the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown.
The Badgers answered with a heavy dose of Ball on a 10-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Jared Abbrederis.
McGloin then threw an interception to Wisconsin safety Shelton Johnson, giving the ball back to the Badgers near midfield. Wilson marched Wisconsin into the red zone, Ball scored a 1-yard touchdown and Wisconsin took a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Wilson then left Nittany Lions defenders grasping at air on a drive late in the second quarter. With the Badgers facing third-and-7, Wilson slipped away from pressure and ran for a first down. Later in the drive, Wilson broke at least three tackles on a 19-yard scramble to give Wisconsin first-and-goal at the 5. Ball scored a 2-yard touchdown two plays later, and Wisconsin took a 21-7 lead.
Penn State then fumbled a kickoff and Wilson drove the Badgers again, finishing with a 4-yard touchdown to Nick Toon. The Badgers led 28-7 at halftime.
Penn State running back Silas Redd fumbled early in the third quarter and the Badgers recovered near midfield. Wilson marched the Badgers into the red zone, Ball scored his third touchdown of the day from 9 yards out and Wisconsin led 35-7.
Ball added an 18-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and ended the day with 156 yards on 25 carries.
The Nittany Lions don't get to play next week, but getting a brief break might have an upside.
"It will give us a chance to rest up both emotionally and physically," offensive tackle Quinn Barham said. "With everything that has been going on, it's been a rough season. We had a tough schedule and then with what's been going on the past two weeks, it will be a nice break and hopefully we can get to a nice bowl game."
Last updated: 6:51 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012