2011 Penn State Football

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Penn State vs Alabama Football Preview


It’s apparently a generic theme: Celebrated head coach at historic and top-25 ranked football program can’t decide between two young quarterbacks out of fall camp.  Head coach makes decision to play both guys in a season-opening massacre against a vastly inferior opponent.  Neither player distinguishes himself and the coach refuses to name a definitive starter.  

Whether you live in Tuscaloosa, AL or University Park, PA you’re familiar with the story.  

Penn State merchandise Third-ranked Alabama heads to Beaver Stadium to take on No. 23 Penn State Saturday in a game that will be characterized by uncertainty at the most important position.  While the old adage says that “two quarterbacks means no quarterback,” neither Nick Saban nor Joe Paterno is buying it.

Saban has been coy when talking about which signal-caller will receive the majority of playing time.  Sophomore AJ McCarron started for Alabama during their 48-7 dismantling of Kent State and completed 14 of 23 passes for 226 yards and a score.  However, he threw two interceptions and was eventually subbed out so that redshirt frosh Philip Sims could get some work.  Sims finished 7 of 14 for 73 yards and also threw two picks.  If you take Saban at his word, then both should see time on Saturday, though it won't be easy against a PSU secondary that boasts four senior starters.

Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno will try yet again to prove to the kids teasing him in the schoolyard that he got his job based on merit and not because his father Joe has been head coach of the Nittany Lions since before he was born by navigating an even more muddled situation under center than 'Bama's.  Paterno saw his pet projects, sophomore Rob Bolden - who started versus Indiana State - and junior Matt McGloin, combine for a paltry 114 yards on 20 attempts.  McGloin accumulated the larger chunk with 77 of those yards, but neither player threw for a touchdown.  No interceptions, but they combined to take three sacks.

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And that was against Indiana State's defense, not the boarderline professional unit run out by the Crimson Tide. 

Of course, given the talent at running back on both teams, all the hubub about the quarterbacks might end up amounting to a middle-school lunchroom sloppy-joe sized gob of nothing.  Trent Richardson is a legitimate Heisman candidate and possibly the best tailback in college football this season.  The junior finally gets his chance to feature this year after rushing for 1451 yards and 14 touchdowns in two years backing up 2011 first-round NFL draft pick Mark Ingram.

Nittany Lions running back Silas Redd looks to be a capable replacement for the school's all-time leading rusher Evan Royster, who graduated and plys his trade on the Washington Redskin practice squad.  The sophomore tallied 104 yards and two scores on just 12 carries last weekend as PSU put up 245 yards on the ground.

Penn State will be looking to avenge a 24-3 shallacking it took in Tuscaloosa last season.  Richardson, starting in place of an injured Ingram, rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown in that game. 

By Scott Panitz
DFN Sports Staff Writer


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