Penn State lost a football game on Saturday night.
That short-term defeat, however, may pay some long-term dividends.
Dozens of recruits attended the 35-23 setback against Ohio State. They may have been underwhelmed by the Nittany Lions' performance on the field. But they were overwhelmed by the sold-out, White-Out atmosphere at a frenzied Beaver Stadium.
The next day, running back Richy Anderson rescinded his verbal commitment to Maryland and said he's now headed to Happy Valley. That's bad news for Susquehannock High School graduate Randy Edsall, who is the Terrapins' head coach, but good news for PSU.
Anderson is a 5-foot, 11-inch, 180-pound, three-star recruit who plays for Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md. He is the son of Richie Anderson, who was a former standout running back for the Lions. The younger Anderson was apparently swayed by the scintillating surroundings at Saturday's game. That outweighed any concerns he had about the severe sanctions that the NCAA imposed on Penn State this summer.
"The sanctions don't matter to me," Anderson told ESPN.com. "Being in that environment, it just proves it. No, you can't play in a bowl game. And, no, they lost a lot of scholarships, but the tradition and everything is still there. It's not just about football."
Anderson apparently was not alone in his feelings.
Christian Hackenberg, the four-star Virginia quarterback who is considered one of the crown jewels of PSU's 2013 recruiting class, is now saying he may enroll at Penn State early.
"For me, I want to come in and play and make an impact as soon as I can," Hackenberg told Lions247.com.
That's a far cry from the lukewarm endorsement that Hackenberg gave the Lions after the NCAA penalties were handed down. At that time, he said he remained committed to Penn State, but he also said he wanted to see how this PSU season played out before signing on the dotted line in February.
The five-straight victories that the Lions compiled before the Ohio State loss, the potential to play right away, Bill O'Brien's innovative offense and Saturday's electric environment have apparently altered his thinking.
Other recruits were similarly impressed Saturday.
Cedar Cliff High School tight end Adam Breneman, who's already committed to PSU, told Lions247.com that he'd "never seen an atmosphere like that. I was telling my dad during the game, I've been to a lot of games at a lot of different places, I've been to a lot of Penn State games, and I've never seen anything like that before."
Breneman's father, Brian, graduated from Spring Grove High School.
So yes, Penn State definitely suffered a short-term loss Saturday night, but a pumped-up Nittany Nation crowd may have given the program a serious long-term triumph.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdis patch.com.