Alabama Rolls Over Penn State, 27-11
No. 3 Alabama came into Beaver Stadium and rolled to a comfortable 27-11 victory. The win came in front of an electric crowd of 107,846 that featured a boisterous student section and plenty of away support.
Penn State took the lead on a field goal on its first drive of the game, but had to use all three time-outs during the drive. It was all Alabama from then on, racking up 17 points for a 17-3 lead at the half. Early in the first quarter, Alabama converted a fake punt for a first down, which led to a touchdown for a 7-3 lead. The fake punt was a huge momentum-changer, as the Nittany Lion defense had rendered the Crimson Tide offense ineffective up to that point.
“I just felt like we weren’t doing much offensively and we needed to change the momentum of the game,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said at halftime. “Even though we didn’t run the play right, we lucked out and got a first down which led to a scoring drive.”
After Penn State’s opening drive, a combination of good defense and dropped passes halted offensive production. After gaining 54 yards on the first drive, the Nittany Lions could only manage 38 more for the rest of the half for a total of 92. Matt McGloin replaced Rob Bolden for the third drive of the game, and the quarterbacks shared time the rest of the way. Both were plagued by receivers who were not catching the ball, although Bolden finished with 144 yards passing to McGloin’s zero.
“It’s tough. We catch the first play of the game, and who knows? Maybe we get a touchdown. It is tough to judge [the play of the quarterbacks],” offensive coordinator Galen Hall said.
In the second half, Penn State was plagued by mistakes on potential scoring drives. Two fumbles and an interception halted the few drives in which Penn State was moving the ball well. The Nittany Lions would not reach the end zone until the end of the game, when Bolden manufactured a nice drive for a touchdown and two-point conversion.
“I think we did all right. We didn’t play great, but we played well,” offensive lineman Johnnie Troutman said. “We came back from deficits before. A mistake here and there, a fumble…those were kind of rough on us. We just stayed together as a unit and was [sic] able to score at the end of the game.”
Penn State will now look ahead for another non-conference game at Temple in Philadelphia. For now, however, the focus will be on who the starting quarterback will be and how the team can improve heading into the remainder of the season.
“I thought Alabama was solid and they didn’t turn the ball over,” Joe Paterno said. “There isn’t too much of a discrepancy in quality between the teams, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
So, who will be the starting quarterback next week? Paterno would not give a straight answer, but it sounds like we may have seen the end of the two-quarterback system.