Read Mark 8:31-38.
“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed” (v. 31).
The game was just another challenge for Ohio State. For Penn State, though, it was something much more: a chance to regain some respect.
After the Lions logged seasons of 3-9 and 4-7 in 2003 and 2004 respectively, most pundits said the best that Penn State could hope for in 2005 was at least four or five losses. Thus, despite a 5-0 start that included a 44-14 thumping of 18th-ranked Minnesota, Penn State didn’t garner too much respect across the country. Few folks considered the Lions to be legitimate contenders for the Big Ten title.
So when sixth-ranked Ohio State rolled into town for an Oct. 8 showdown, no one was surprised when the 3-1 Buckeyes were favored. What resulted was one of the greatest games in Penn State football history. It was classic Joe Paterno: great defense and kicking and scoring just enough points to win.
After an early Ohio State field goal, the Lions took the lead for good in the second quarter. A 25-yard romp from tailback Tony Hunt and quarterback Michael Robinson’s 16-yard scramble set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Derrick Williams. He was sprung free by a block from right tackle Andrew Richardson. Three plays later, Calvin Lowry nabbed an interception, and three plays after that, Robinson kept on an option and scored.
Ohio State cut the lead to 14-10 with 33 seconds left in the half. The Buckeyes didn’t know it, but they would not score again; the rest of the night belonged to the Penn State defense. Linebacker Paul Posluszny led the charge with 14 tackles.
With the 17-10 win, the Nittany Lions were “back in the territory their predecessors took for granted”: winning and respected.
Rodney Dangerfield made a good living as a comedian with a repertoire that was basically only countless variations on one punch line: “I don’t get no respect.” Dangerfield was successful because he struck a chord with his audience. No one wants to play football for a program that no one respects. You want the respect, the esteem, and the regard that you feel you’ve earned.
But more often than not, you don’t get it. Still, you shouldn’t feel too badly; you’re in good company. In the ultimate example of disrespect, Jesus — the very Son of God — was treated as the worst type of criminal. He was arrested, bound, scorned, ridiculed, spit upon, tortured, condemned, and executed.
God allowed his son to undergo such treatment because of his high regard and his love for you. You are respected by almighty God! Could anyone else’s respect really matter?
This was a chance for us to prove we belonged on the national stage. — Safety Chris Harrell on the Ohio State game
You may not get the respect you deserve, but at least nobody’s spitting on you and driving nails into you as they did to Jesus.