The Prayer, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA. – 11/12/2011 – Penn State tackle Cody Castor (96) and linebacker Ben Kline (38) kneel in prayer with Huskers Brion Carnes (15) and Daimion Stafford (3) during a pre-game prayer delivered by Nebraska running backs coach Ron Brown at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, November 12, 2011. (FRANCIS GARDLER / Lincoln Journal Star)

the Lincoln Journal Star

Nov. 12, 2011

You know what’s more powerful than witnessing 107,000 people make a stadium rock? Witnessing 107,000 people fall into total silence. Witnessing two football teams gather at midfield, hold hands, bow their heads and pray.

No one in the Nebraska program would have ever wanted to be part of the storm, but there the Huskers were in the midst of it, Penn State’s opponent in the days after a monster was found in Happy Valley. The monster who preyed on children is not worth naming. But the memories from that game remain.

It was a game coach Bo Pelini would later say should never have been played. But it was, with national news outlets showing the pregame events live at Beaver Stadium. Everyone wondered how both teams would respond. What they chose to do was hold hands and pray, led by Husker assistant Ron Brown. “I think the thing that probably struck me the most was how silent the stadium got,” Brown said when it was over.

— Brian Christopherson