Son: Joe Paterno pleased despite loss

Updated: November 14, 2011, 7:16 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Joe Paterno was watching, after all.

On Saturday when, late in the fourth quarter, Penn State receiver Curtis Drake took a handoff on a reverse and fired a pass to quarterback Matt McGloin for a 16-yard gain deep into Nebraska territory, Paterno's focus was attuned -- despite the circumstance.

And a day later, Paterno was in good spirits, son Jay Paterno said in front of the ousted coach's house, speaking to ESPN's Lisa Salters. Jay also had a keen eye on the play that set the Nittany Lions up for a touchdown and helped pull them to 17-14, which turned out to be the final score.

Jay, who had moved down from his usual spot in the press box to relay plays from the sideline -- a job once held by assistant coach Mike McQueary -- says his 84-year-old father thought Penn State looked tentative at the start but was happy when they pulled off the crucial end-around to the 6-yard line, a play the elder Paterno said the Nittany Lions had practiced all week.

Jay returned Saturday after the loss to his parents' home to retrieve his SUV from the driveway when he received a spontaneous ovation from the roughly 75 onlookers who had gathered.

Jay talked Sunday morning as the house's front lawn and sidewalk again played host to a steady stream of well-wishers including friends, former players Franco Harris, Ki-Jana Carter and Blair Thomas, and fans armed with balloons, flowers and letters.

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AP Photo/Alex BrandonJay Paterno addresses cheering fans outside his father's house Saturday in State College, Pa., after Penn State's 17-14 loss to Nebraska.

Jay said his father would not make a statement Sunday. Harris, the Steelers Hall of Fame running back, defended Paterno as he left, saying he had acted appropriately.

In the end Saturday, Penn State's final drive came up short, stopped near midfield as McGloin's fourth-down pass fell incomplete in front of a capacity crowd at Beaver Stadium -- with Paterno watching from afar.

But he wasn't the only key figure not in attendance amid the school's ongoing sex-abuse scandal.

McQueary was placed on administrative leave Friday, two days after Paterno and school president Graham Spanier were fired. The fallout also resulted in athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz vacating their posts after they were charged with felony perjury and failing to report a crime.

Retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is accused of assaulting eight boys over 15 years and has maintained his innocence.

Pennsylvania's governor said on Sunday that McQueary, who told a grand jury that he saw Sandusky molest a child, failed to meet "a moral obligation" to intervene, adding that he expects more victims to come forward.

McQueary has testified he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy in a shower at a campus football facility almost a decade ago.

McQueary told the grand jury he was distraught by what he witnessed and walked away after both Sandusky and the boy saw him. He said he told his father what happened and then told Paterno, who reported it to his superiors. But those school officials, Curley and Schultz, stand accused of covering up McQueary's 2002 report.

The charges were filed last weekend and the grand jury's report made public, and the resulting outrage made it clear that Paterno, who had coached for decades at Penn State, would share the blame. He was fired Wednesday. In his last game, a win over Illinois, he'd become the coach with the most wins in Division I history.

As for McQueary, the current attorney general had clearly decided that he was to be treated as a witness in the case, Gov. Tom Corbett said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

McQueary met "the minimum obligation" of reporting what he saw to his superiors, who are required under Pennsylvania law to report such assaults to authorities. But McQueary "did not in my opinion meet a moral obligation that all of us would have," said the governor, who as attorney general initiated the investigation that led to the charges.

Corbett also said people have to keep in mind "that this is also somebody who is a witness to this crime and is a very important witness."

State lawmakers from both parties have proposed changes to toughen the law that governs the reporting of sex assaults, Corbett added. He said he would not be surprised to see it strengthened this year.

"We have to make sure the change in the law is one that is effective," he said.

Corbett said he expects more allegations of abuse to materialize, a common occurrence in abuse cases.

"When the word gets out, when people understand that authorities are actually doing something about this, that they may be believed, then more people come forward," Corbett said.

Authorities have asked for victims to contact them.

Sandusky encountered all the boys through a charity he founded to help at-risk children, Second Mile, prosecutors have said. Leaders of the organization plan to meet soon to determine its future, Corbett said.

"If you talk to people who have worked with Second Mile, it has done great work," he said. "And if it should cease to exist, I am hopeful that other organizations will pick up the work that they did. We need to reach out to these children. We need to give them guidance."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.