The High Five
Starting Gun: Despite the outcome, Penn State deserves some credit for some early solid play calling and execution out of the gate, particularly with their ability to march down and put points on the board with a 54-yard drive. That momentum diminished, but the squad showed some initial fire.
Inside Job: The defensive interior tandem of Devon Still and Jordan Hill continued their impressive performance in this game with some aggressive intensity and good endurance throughout. In particular, they generally did a good job containing Trent Richardson, making him fight for every yard and containing him to 4.3 yards per carry, with many of his yards coming late when the game was well in hand.
Back Pack: The linebackers, led by Michael Mauti, played well overall and really brought a spark to the overall intensity of the defense. In end they ran out of gas, but deserve credit for playing with passion.
Kick It: Evan Lewis managed to hit his first field goal after going 0-2 against Indiana State to put Penn State on the board. The return of Anthony Fera gave Penn State a weapon as well as he Alex Butterworth had a solid outing on punts.
Line Dancing: The offensive had some inconsistency issues, but the pass blocking was much improved since last week, giving both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin time much of the day against an impressive Tide front four.
Crowd Control: With 107,846 fans, it was the largest crowd Alabama has ever played in front of. There were also some nice tributes on the eve of the 9-11 anniversary with the FDNY color-guard, a riveting "USA" pregame chant and impressive halftime tribute by the Blue Band. The Alabama fans also deserve a tip of the hat for showing up en force and taking over much of the north endzone.
The Low Five
Mismanagement: Despite the strong play-calling to open things up, the PSU staff displayed some signs of flat out confusion on the opening drive blowing three timeouts in the first six minutes. Where the team was executing the staff certainly was not with their game management. We're not sure if a college football team has ever blown three timeouts faster.
Passing Lane: Aside from a few sparks from Derek Moye, Justin Brown and Shawney Kersey, the passing (when it counted at least) was anemic on the day with at lot of batted and dropped balls. It certainly put added pressure on Silas Redd and the run game.
Coughed Up: Three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception) put Penn State in a major hole, snuffing out some key drives. All week ball protection was preached, but the Lions clearly lost that battle considering the Tide had no turnovers.
Stay The Course: Without getting into the name game it continues to be a head-scratched when the coaching staff insists on sticking with specific players who are struggling. They are not only doing the team a disservice, but often times the player a disservice as they are more often then not in a rut and need a change up.
Officially Weak: It was likely inconsequential in the end, but some weak calls and spots, particularly on the fake punt and the "fair catch" call on Justin Brown had fans potentially longing for Big Ten officials, OK maybe that's going too far, but the officiating sure seemed to have some inconsistencies.