Like a lot of people, Devon Still found himself watching TV early last week witnessing the growing details of a scandal at Pennsylvania State University.

Unlike most people, he was directly connected to it.

The PSU senior defensive tackle heard the questions about the integrity of his university, about how his team would respond with an important game against No. 19 Nebraska on Saturday.

He came up with an idea.

"Instead of running out of the tunnel, we were going to come out together locked arms and holding hands just to show everybody that we're going to be together through everything that's going on," Still said. "I think it served its purpose."

Led by its captains, the Nittany Lions emerged from its tunnel in rows of four, arms locked and hand-in-hand.

"That was so emotional when we did that," defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "I had my adrenaline going when we walked out there. We wanted to let everybody know that we're still a team and we're together and nothing is going to change."

Saturday's contest between Penn State and Nebraska was a Big Ten Conference clash between two ranked teams. It had conference title implications. From about noon to 3:30 p.m. a college football game was played, but when the clock wasn't ticking, it was far from a regular football Saturday.

"I thought we were at a good point last week," PSU interim head coach Tom Bradley said after the game. "Then this week rolled around and with all of the distractions and everything else that came our way, obviously it was a week unprecedented in college football history."

The game was the secondary story on Saturday, with the events of the preceding week taking center stage. A candlelight vigil was held Friday night. Penn State students organized a "Blue Out" at Beaver Stadium to support sexual abuse victims.

And moments before kick off, both teams met in the middle of the field, shook hands and kneeled in prayer together.

"Two different universities, great football programs just coming together, forgetting about football for one second, coming together as people, as humans to reflect on what happened," Nebraska defensive end Cameron Meredith said. "I thought it was really cool. We all held hands and prayed together."

Ron Brown, running backs coach for the Huskers, led the prayer that lasted a few minutes. The more than 107,000 fans in attendance cheered as the players met at the middle of the field, but all at once became completely silent.

Brown recalled a moment right before the prayer after the game.

"Tom Bradley said to me, ‘Where's Bo? Where's Bo?' Bo was coming and was a little bit behind. He says, ‘I want Bo to kneel right next to me,'" Brown said.

"I really felt that kind of represented the spirit that was taking place in that huddle. We knew we were going to go into a battle between these two teams, but that was something bigger."

Nebraska went on to defeat Penn State 17-14 as the Nittany Lion's comeback came up just short. Most fans probably won't remember the score years from now.

People will most likely remember Penn State players walking out of the tunnel hand-in-hand and a prayer.

"Let's go out here and prove to these people that no matter what happens in this program we're going to go out there and play with the best of our abilities," Penn State defensive back Chaz Powell said, recalling his thoughts from the beginning of the game. "These coaches work their asses off. Everyone is in it together. It was a rough week, but we have to keep pushing forward."

dougburger@dailynebraskan.com