STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State players wore “42” on the side of their helmets Saturday for injured linebacker Michael Mauti, and the team and students honored the senior class in an emotional ceremony before Saturday’s season finale against Wisconsin.
Mauti and the rest of the seniors helped keep most of the team together in the offseason after the NCAA levied strict sanctions on Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
Mauti, who wears No. 42, hurt his left knee during last week’s 45-22 win over Indiana. A few seniors suggested wearing the numbers on the white helmets this week, but players didn’t know about the honor until they got to the locker room Saturday before the game.
It was the first time since 1974 that Penn State wore numbers on helmets.
Players already have names on the backs of uniforms for the first time in team history after first-year coach Bill O’Brien sought to recognize Nittany Lions who stayed with the program.
During a pregame ceremony involving the families of senior players, the team also unveiled “2012” on the east facade of the stadium alongside the years signifying undefeated or championship seasons.
“Today we memorialize this team …. to ensure that they will be recognized among the great teams in program history,” the Beaver Stadium public address announcer said.
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