Published September 8, 2010 - 3:34pm
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#1 Alabama plays host to #18 Penn St, Saturday night in a much anticipated match up. Alabama and Penn St use to be rivals back in the old days when Bear Bryant was the coach of Alabama and Joe Paterno was, and still is, the coach for Penn St. Here are five things you need to know before kickoff.
1: No Ingram, No Problem: Alabama has the best running back in the nation in Mark Ingram, they also have the best backup in the nation in Trent Richardson. Richardson would start for most teams in the nation, and every other team in the SEC. Last week, the Crimson Tide managed to run for 257 yards on 41 carries and four touchdowns. Eddie Lacy led the Tide with 111 yards, while Richardson rushed for 66 in limited duty. Ingram is doubtful for the game, but ‘Bama fans should not worry, their backfield is the best and deepest in the nation.
2: Julio Jones: Jones has all the physical tools to be an elite receiver, and last week it looks like Alabama finally recognized that. On the first drive of the game Jones was targeted three times and finished the game with 6 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. For the Alabama offense to take the next step and become elite, Jones will need to be extremely productive.
3: Freshman Quarterback: Penn State announced last week that true freshman Robert Bolden, would be their starter. Alabama fans immediately began salivating at the opportunity to face a true freshman in week two. The problem is, Bolden did not look like a true freshman in week one. Bolden complete 20 of 29 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. While these stats were against Youngstown State, they were still impressive for a true freshman. Bolden will be tested this week, and must minimize his mistakes if the Nittany Lions expect to beat Alabama.
4: Defense wins championships: Penn State gave up only 264 yards of total offense against Youngstown State. If you take away the 80 yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, that number becomes more impressive. Penn St was especially tough on third down allowing Youngstown St to convert on only 2 of 12 attempts. Alabama allowed only 175 yards against San Jose St, and limited them to 7 first downs for the game. The Crimson Tide defense was equally as stingy on third down, allowing SJSU to convert only once in thirteen tries.
5: SEC vs Big Ten: This game is a big statement game for the Big Ten conference. We ranked the Big Ten as having the most impressive week one, but the Big Ten has not fared well against the SEC in the past. Especially when you consider the recent BCS Championship games, where Florida and LSU both beat Big Ten schools (Ohio State). In the past eight years, five of the BCS national championship winners came from the SEC, compared to only one from the Big Ten.