BAMA: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's lopsided loss to the nation's No. 1 team in Tuscaloosa.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The question on everybody's mind heading into Penn State's showdown with No. 1 Alabama here Saturday was how rookie quarterback Rob Bolden would react in such a hostile environment.

It turned out that -- all things considered -- he was fine. Bolden was poised in completing 13 of 29 passes for 144 yards. He was intercepted twice, but both happened when he was under heavy pressure.

As for the rest of the team … well, that's a different story. The Nittany Lion defense was shoved around early in the game. The running game never really kicked in, as Evan Royster was held to 32 yards on nine carries.

And the receivers had a least a couple of drops that could have helped the young QB.

It added up to a 24-3 loss in which one got the sense the Crimson Tide (2-0) put things into cruise control in the second half. Here is what went down from Penn State's (1-1) side of things.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Receiver Derek Moye had three catches for 69 yards and also hustled to make a tackle and strip of Alabama safety Robert Lester, who was returning a fumble by PSU's Chaz Powell.

CLOSE SECOND: Corner D'Anton Lynn had nine tackles and a couple of nice-breakups.

CLOSE THIRD: We'll go with Bolden. He'll learn from this experience.

TURNING POINT: Bolden's first pick. With the Lions trailing 7-0 yet having driven to the Tide 20 midway through the first quarter, the QB was hit while throwing and his pass intercepted by safety Will Lowry at the 3-yard line. Alabama responded by shredding the PSU defense behind running back Trent Richardson and marching 97 yards to go up 14-0

SOLID STRATEGY: The Tide relying on Richardson so much in the first half, when he gained 102 of his 144 yards.

NUMBERS GAME: Alabama posted 409 yards of total offense.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Penn State was only penalized once.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Stephfon Green had 100 yards on four kickoff returns. The Tide was keeping the ball away from Powell, who broke a 100-yard TD return in the opener against YSU.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• Two areas that were supposed to be strengths for the PSU defense -- the line and secondary -- struggling big time, especially in the first quarter.

• Alabama grinding up the PSU front seven even when the Tide operated from Wildcat formations, with running backs or receivers at QB. At that point, it was obvious 'Bama was toying with PSU.

Graham Zug not having a catch through two games. He had a big drop in this game.

• Penn State using diminutive wideout Devon Smith on a run up the gut in the second quarter. Is it really necessary to subject him to that kind of abuse.

• Penn State having yet to complete a pass to a tight end.

INJURY REPORT:

• Linebacker Gerald Hodges was injured covering the opening kickoff and never returned. He spent the second half on the sideline on crutches and with a large brace on his left foot.

• Green left the game in the second quarter with leg cramps following a short run but returned the opening kickoff in the third quarter.

HIT SQUAD: DE Pete Massaro's sack of Greg McElroy late in the second quarter forced the Tide into a third-and-long. They ultimately missed a field goal, keeping the score 17-0 going into the locker room.

HIDDEN HERO: Gotta give credit to guard Stefen Wisniewski for hustling back and at least trying to make a play on Alabama's long fumble return, which Penn State got back following Moye's strip and Brett Brackett's recovery.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Smith had five catches for 47 yards and two carries for eight yards.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• How classy the Alabama fans are? The went crazy when Paterno and former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden were shown on the big screen before the game (Bowden was in town promoting his book). And at the end of the first half, Paterno was shown on the big screen again as he was leaving the field and got another round of applause.

• DeOn'tae Pannell and Johnnie Troutman continued to platoon at left guard.

• Massaro saw a snap at DT in the second quarter, when Alabama faced a third-and-14.

• Mike Mauti made his first career start at outside linebacker, replacing Nate Stupar. The two alternated throughout the game.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: How will Penn State bounce back from such a lopsided loss?


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