In the midst of everything, a game.

What began Saturday with dozens of players from both teams kneeling in silent prayer at midfield, ended with Penn State losing on a luminous afternoon that was sunny if only for the weather until a spirited comeback attempt fell short.

In between, the implausible task of playing football in unimaginable turmoil.

Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah rushed for touchdowns, leading No. 19 Nebraska to a 17-14 victory over No. 12 Penn State, which played its first game in 46 years without Joe Paterno as head coach as it deals with an ongoing sex-abuse scandal that has blackened the university's once sterling reputation.

Stephfon Green scored two touchdowns to erase a 17-0 deficit and get Penn State within three, but Silas Redd was stood up on a 4th-and-1 attempt inside two minutes.

The Nittany Lions got the ball back after stopping Burkhead on a 4th-and-2, but Nebraska (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) held on in the final 49 seconds as Penn State (8-2, 5-1) was left without a timeout.