A Bold Statement

True freshman quarterback Bolden shines as the Nittany Lions hammer Youngstown State in the season-opener.

Early in Penn State's season-opening 44-14 victory over Youngstown State, freshman quarterback Robert Bolden provided his offense with an unnecessary challenge.

They couldn't hear him.

“I told him this week at practice you might need to speak up in the huddle,” said Bolden's favorite target, team captain Brett Brackett. “And early in the game today one of the offensive linemen said, 'Speak up! You don't have to be so quiet. They can't hear you!' ”

Bolden responded by elevating the volume of his voice and the play of his right arm, completing 20 of 29 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Bolden, the first true freshman to start a season at quarterback under head coach Joe Paterno, overcame an early interception to lead the Nittany Lions to their ninth consecutive opening game victory.

Trailing 7-6 early in the second quarter, Bolden was intercepted by Youngstown State linebacker David Rach inside Penn State territory. The 18-year-old quarterback shrugged off the mistake by responding with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brackett on the team's next drive -- it was one of Brackett's team leading and career-high eight receptions.

The play set off a flurry of scoring as the Nittany Lions posted 17 points in 92 seconds, with Colin Wagner drilling one of his three, 40-plus-yard field goals before the half, and Chaz Powell started the third quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown.

Penn State's game plan did not call for Bolden to attempt 29 passes, but with the running game struggling early, the offense had to make a change.

“We didn't come out and execute well (on the ground),” said PSU running back Evan Royster. “So we went with the passing game and it worked out well.”

Although it took Penn State until Wednesday night to announce Bolden as the starter, running back Stephfon Green knew Bolden's potential from Day One.

“I've been praising this kid since he stepped on campus,” said Green who rushed for a fourth-quarter touchdown. “I can speak for everyone when I say I'm comfortable with him as the starting quarterback.”

Green stated Bolden would not be overconfident heading to Alabama next week, as he stayed incredibly humble throughout the game. Green on the other hand…

“(Bolden's) going to break all the passing records we have," he said.

While the young quarterback's performance was extremely promising, his strong arm, soft touch, and undeniable poise will be put to the crucible next week at No. 1 ranked Alabama.

“Learning a new system at quarterback (like Bolden did) is like learning a new language,” said QBs coach Jay Paterno. “He learned Spanish (this week), next week he has to learn Mandarin Chinese -- on the road, under pressure -- and be fluent.”


Fight On State Top Stories