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Safety a worry for Saturday's Penn State game

Penn State students flip a television news van Thursday night during violence after coach Joe Paterno was fired.

Associated Press

Penn State students flip a television news van Thursday night during violence after coach Joe Paterno was fired.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett asked Penn State students to refrain from the violence that wracked their college town after the firing of Joe Paterno, saying the nation is watching their behavior.

Thousands of students took to the streets Wednesday night after Paterno's dismissal, overturning a TV news van and throwing rocks, bottles and other hard objects at police and others.

"I believe in your right of assembly and your right to express your opinions," Corbett said. "I do not believe, nor does anyone believe, in your right to violence."

Investigators said they were reviewing video footage and have identified numerous suspects who could be charged with riot, attempted arson or other crimes.

Police in riot gear dispersed about 2,000 people who took to the streets after Paterno's firing. Crowds toppled a television news van and kicked in its windows, and at least one photographer was hit with a rock. Officers used pepper spray at times to control the crowd.

Authorities didn't say how many arrests had been made.

Crowd control for Saturday's noon game, Penn State's final home game this season, became a concern for some after Wednesday night's violence.

Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman is confident the Cornhuskers' football traveling party and fans will be safe for the game, the Nittany Lions' first since 1965 without Paterno as head coach.

"I suppose canceling the game was always an option, but it has not been seriously considered," Perlman wrote Thursday in an email to the Associated Press. "We continue to monitor the situation at Penn State but have received assurances that there is currently no reason to consider canceling."

Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley urged students to not engage in hooliganism because they're upset about Paterno.

"I think the message is clear: Let's show them what Penn State is really all about. . . . Let's show class; let's show dignity," Bradley said. He said he wasn't worried about the safety of Penn State's players on Saturday.

Nebraska season-ticket holder Jeff "Rocky" Sisel of Arlington, Va., who travels the country following the Huskers, said safety concerns won't stop him from attending the game.

"I wouldn't have thought about it otherwise, but I'm worried about the spirit and the feeling that these students are having," Sisel said. "Are they going to take it out on Nebraska people?''

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said Nebraska officials have talked with Penn State police and interim athletic director Mark Sherburne.

"We have visited with Penn State security and we understand they are enhancing their security efforts for Saturday's game and are taking extra precautions to ensure that all players, coaches and fans are treated in a respectful way," Osborne said. "We know that our fans will reciprocate and display good sportsmanship."

Safety a worry for Saturday's Penn State game 11/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 10, 2011 10:57pm]
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