Penn State will take on the best team in the country on Saturday, with freshman QB Rob Bolden under center, in what coach Joe Paterno is terming “an opportunity.”
JoePa has already conceded that the Nittany Lions are outmanned, whether injured running back and Heisman winner Mark Ingram, or suspended defensive end and championship game hero Marcell Dareus suit up for the Crimson Tide or not.
Always crazy like a fox, Paterno said this Alabama squad is the best Penn State has faced since 1986 Miami Hurricanes of Fiesta Bowl fame/infamy. Umm…guess who won that game?
Like that Fiesta Bowl, and every other “big game” PSU plays, Paterno is deflecting all the praise to the opponents and laying the basis for his team to be a complete underdog. I don’t think he expects to win, but I don’t believe the Nittany Lions will be unprepared. If anything, they’ll hope to catch Alabama with its pants down as often as possible.
Another Penn State team that comes to mind this weekend is the 1982 squad which won the Sugar Bowl and the national championship, but got drubbed 42-21 in Birmingham that year – its only loss of the season. Todd Blackledge, the Nittany Lions’ former QB, said that the loss to Alabama was the turning point in their season. Penn State decided to pull it together and learn from the loss, and they did, eventually beating Georgia to claim the number one spot in the land.
Look, Saturday has all the makings of a ridiculous upset. I’m not going to tell you that it will happen, but what I will tell you is that it will show a lot about the current Penn State team — Bolden, the offensive line, the running game, and the secondary. What determines the Nittany Lions’ season will not be their performance at Alabama, but their performance after.
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Written by Stephanie Geosits