Posted by Adam Jacobi
ALABAMA WON. The third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide cruised to victory in Happy Valley on Saturday, besting Penn State 27-11. Trent Richardson ran for 111 yards and two scores against a tough PSU defense, and Eddie Lacy chipped in 11 carries for 85 yards for the Tide. Alabama held Penn State to just 251 yards on the day.
WHY ALABAMA WON: Alabama had a vaunted defense, and it showed up to play in this game, but it's also clear that Penn State's quarterback situation is just about a disaster. Rob Bolden was just 11-29 for 144 yards and one bad interception, but his performance was downright virtuoso compared to Matt McGloin, who went 1-10 for 0 yards. That is not a typo. McGloin's quarterback rating for the game was 10.0, which is just about as bad as it gets. Credit for that goes to Alabama's defense, to be sure, but both PSU quarterbacks were missing throws badly over the course of the game.
WHEN ALABAMA WON: The Alabama defense was so stifling that pretty much any lead would be safe, but when Richardson ran 13 yards to pay dirt with 6:14 left, making the score 27-3 and pushing the big back over 100 yards, PSU fans were free to head to the exits.
WHAT ALABAMA WON: Penn State's offense may have been an exercise in ineptitude, but its defense is legit, and Beaver Stadium is still one of the most intimidating home fields in all of college football. So coming into Happy Valley and leaving with a 24-point win is a tremendous accomplishment for Alabama, and the Tide now has a feather in its cap as it continues to prepare for the SEC and a potential championship run.
WHAT PENN STATE LOST: If Penn State had any confidence in its quarterback situation, it's gone now, as neither QB looks capable of beating a legitimate Big Ten defense -- or even being an effective "game manager," as the term goes. McGloin won't go 1-10 every week, of course, and there'll be better days against worse defenses, but Penn State's prospects for conference play look much bleaker than they did before this game.
THAT WAS CRAZY: With Penn State leading 3-0 late in the first quarter, Alabama needed a kickstart to its offense and found itself facing 4th and 1 at its 40. Nick Saban called a fake punt rush by Brad Smelley. Smelley took contact at the line of scrimmage after what Saban would later say was a blown block, and barely, barely got the ball across the first down line. Alabama would later score a touchdown on the drive, and the Tide never looked back.