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Oklahoma football: Penn State transfer Justin Brown having a huge impact for OU

The OU receiver already has as many catches in this season as he had in any season at Penn State.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: November 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012

NORMAN — Justin Brown had never caught more passes for more yards in a college game than he did this past Saturday.

Good for Oklahoma.

Even better for Brown.

It's been a year since the sex abuse scandal at Penn State broke wide open. Brown, then a junior receiver for the Nittany Lions, was enjoying an off week when he suddenly found his team and his university embroiled in what would become the biggest scandal that the sports world has ever seen.

Every day over the next two months seemed to bring more horrific details.

“It was always something new,” Brown said.

He often wondered what more could come.

“And once you felt like that, something else came out,” he said Monday at the Sooners' weekly press luncheon. “I guess it's how something things go some times.”

Ironically, because of his big-time play this past weekend, Brown was among the players selected to attend the luncheon on the one-year anniversary of the day that news broke about the investigation into Jerry Sandusky's inappropriate sexual advances or assaults on boys. Over the next 10 months, the former Penn State defensive coordinator would be found guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse, iconic head coach Joe Paterno would be fired, the NCAA would hand down to Penn State its most punitive penalties ever, and a school and its football program would be forever changed.

Smack in the middle of the mess were Penn State's players.

No one was victimized more than the boys whom Sandusky abused, but next in line were those players. They had gone to Penn State to play ball, but suddenly, they had to deal with this?

No wonder everyone in the sports world feels so good about what the Nittany Lions have done this season. After getting off to a rocky start with losses to Ohio and Virginia, Penn State has won six of its last seven games.

Remember, though, not all of those players who were affected are still playing in State College.

Eleven players transferred in the wake of the scandal, including Brown. While the players who stayed are often lauded for their loyalty, it's hard to fault those who left. It's even harder not to feel good for any of them who are having success.

And no one is having any bigger impact than Brown.

He has been the Sooners' punt returner since he stepped onto campus, immediately upgrading that position. Three weeks ago against Kansas, he had a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, and he leads the Big 12 with a 17.8-yards-per-return average.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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