Two of the nation’s elite college programs hooked up Saturday evening in Tuscaloosa, Ala. When all was said and done, one of them left with a convincing victory.
Top-ranked Alabama vaulted to a 17-0 halftime lead, then held 18th-ranked Penn State to a mere field goal over the next 30 minutes, serving notice that it was not going to give up the No. 1 spot in the country on this night in front of more than 101,000 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium
With 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram missing his second game following surgery to an injured knee, sophomore Trent Richardson (22 carries, 144 yards) took over, helping lead the Crimson Tide to 409 total yards of offense. Richardson’s performance was the first time in 17 games that a running back has gone over 100 yards against the Nittany Lions.
Senior QB Greg McElroy, who has never lost a game as a starter in both college and high school, finished the night with a pair of touchdowns and 229 yards passing.
The Alabama (2-0) defense was equally impressive, forcing Penn State into four turnovers (three inside the Alabama 20) on a night when the Nittany Lions were making their first visit to Tuscaloosa in some two decades.
“I thought Trent Richardson had a fantastic game,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban told Rolltide.com afterwards. “ I think this was the first back that’s gotten over 100 yards against their defense in a long, long time which says a lot about their defense, but it also says a lot about Trent making the 140 yards that he made. I thought Greg did a really good job of managing the game, and I thought we had four or five guys make plays out there and we need to continue to have more guys make big plays to continue to be a good offensive team. We had good balance, and I think that’s going to be the key to us continuing to improve.”
Redshirt freshman Kevin Norwood gave Alabama a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 36-yard scoring passing from McElroy. Senior tight end Preston Dial caught the second of McElroy’s TD passes, a 14-yard strike to put Alabama up by two touchdowns.
FIFTH QUARTER: Penn State (1-1) rushed for 127 yards on 31 carries, with tailback Evan Royster gaining a mere 32 yards on nine carries. For Alabama’s defense, redshirt freshman linebacker Ed Stinson paced the Tide with nine tackles while junior linebacker Jerrell Harris pitched in with seven. This was the first time since a 13-3 loss to Wisconsin in 2006 that Penn State was held without a touchdown. Penn State hosts Kent State next Saturday, while ‘Bama takes its top ranking to Durham, N.C. to meet Duke in a non-league contest at 2:30 p.m. (CST).
|SCORING SUMMARY||PSU -UA|
|1st||08:35||UA||Kevin Norwood 36 yd pass from Greg McElroy (Jeremy Shelley kick)|
|5 plays, 68 yards, TOP 2:38||0 – 7|
|2nd||14:55||UA||Preston Dial 14 yd pass from Greg McElroy (Jeremy Shelley kick)|
|9 plays, 97 yards, TOP 4:04||0 – 14|
|03:54||UA||Jeremy Shelley 31 yd field goal|
|10 plays, 46 yards, TOP 4:53||0 – 17|
|4th||14:10||UA||T. Richardson 1 yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick)|
|12 plays, 71 yards, TOP 6:24||0 – 24|
|09:47||PSU||Wagner, Collin 36 yd field goal|
|12 plays, 52 yards, TOP 4:23||3 – 24|
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Written by Dave Thomas