Penn State-Alabama Football Preview
Penn State is playing what is probably going to be its biggest game of the year, and it is only week two. Here is what you need to know about No. 3 Alabama heading into the second game of the year at Beaver Stadium.
Team: Alabama Crimson Tide
Head Coach: Nick Saban (130-53-1 record in 16 seasons; 39-11 record in five seasons at Alabama)
Series History: Alabama leads 9-5
Players to look for: RB Trent Richardson, WR Marquis Maze, LB Dont’a Hightower
Prediction: Alabama wins 23-13
Above, Hightower is highlighted as one of the players to look for. However, one could pick pretty much any of the Alabama defenders. Before the season started, five Alabama players were put on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is given to the best defensive player in all of college football. Courtney Upshaw, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Robert Lester join Hightower on this list.
The Crimson Tide held Kent State to -9 yards rushing in their first game of the season. To add to that magnificent stat, Alabama only gave up 99 passing yards in that game as well. The Alabama defense can only be described as sick, and Penn State will struggle mightily to score in this game.
Alabama’s offense was no slouch either against Kent State, going 48 points and 482 yards. However, the Crimson Tide are facing their own quarterback problem, with A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims vying for the position. The two combined for 299 yards through the air against Kent State, but each threw two interceptions.
Penn State will need to limit Alabama’s rushing game and hope that the electric crowd in Beaver Stadium will force mistakes from the Crimson Tide quarterbacks. Even then, the Nittany Lions still would not be favorites to win against a great Alabama defense.
In order to win, Penn State will have play at a near-perfect level. Little mistakes could cost the Nittany Lions the game. The problem with the field goal kicking will need to be fixed. Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin will need to be efficient and lead the team into the end zone when they get the chance. Last year against Alabama, Penn State was able to move the ball down the field but was unable to get touchdowns.
I believe that the Nittany Lions will play well in this game but still lose. I think the game stays close well into the fourth quarter until Alabama kicks a field goal to seal a 23-13 victory.