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Saturday
Nov122011

Penn State Scandal: Nittany Lions Take the Field Without Joe Paterno

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn.) -- Penn State University's Nittany Lions Saturday will be playing their first football game in 46 years without legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, 84, who was fired amid a sexual abuse scandal by a former assistant coach.

"We lost our coach so I guess we are playing for a little bit more now. We're playing for Penn State and trying to make Penn State's name back to where it was," linebacker Nate Stupar told "Good Morning America."

Former assistant football coach Gerard "Jerry" Sandusky has been charged with sexually assaulting eight boys over a 15-year period.

The mother of the first child to contact police alleges that her son was about 11, and enrolled in programs sponsored by Sandusky's Second Mile Foundation, when the molestation began.

"My son started acting out," she said during an exclusive "Good Morning America" interview.

Her child once said he wanted to conduct an Internet search of "sex weirdos," said the woman, whose identify Good Morning America did not reveal. "He said he wanted to see if Jerry was on there."

She sought intervention from her son's guidance counselors, who confirmed her suspicions that he had been molested by Sandusky who, she said, also was regularly taking the boy away from school grounds during the schoolday, without her knowledge or consent. Her son spent time alone with Sandusky, she said, and slept overnight in his basement.

"I was horrified," the mother said, of what she learned from school counselors.

Nevertheless, Penn State, a longtime sports powerhouse, has much more on the line than football.

While riotous student protesters, angered by what they view as the scapegoating of Paterno, overturned one TV crew's vehicle this week and gathered en masse in front of Paterno's home, other students have placed their focus elsewhere.

"The important thing is what happened to these kids... Some people are forgetting what this is really about," said Megan Lister, another student at Penn State, which attracted thousands to Friday night's candlelight vigil for the alleged victims. It replaced a planned pep rally.

Increased security will be in place for today's game and "inspections will be more deliberate and thorough, and the University's regulation on bags will be strictly enforced," university officials said.

Many of the 100,000 fans projected to pack the stadiium for Saturday's game are will be clad in blue -- the designated color representing the sexual abuse of children -- instead of the white; their customary attire for home games.

Another major change in plans is the removal of assistant coach Mike McQueary from the coaching line-up for Saturday's game against Nebraska.

Now on administrative leave, McQueary was a 28-year-old graduate assistant in the football department when he allegedly saw former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy, roughly 10 years old, in the locker room showers.

McQueary left the building and reported the incident to Paterno the next day.

Authorities said McQueary did what was required of him and he was not a target of the investigation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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