Published September 7, 2011 - 10:26am
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The Matchup: No. 3 Alabama (1-0, 0-0) vs. Penn State (1-0, 0-0)
When: September 10, 2011
Where: State College, Pennsylvania
Game Time: 3:30 PM ET
What You Need To Know About Alabama:
This will be AJ McCarron’s first road start, ever. He clearly won the job over Phillip Sims in week one, but Sims will be there to go to if the Tide ever need him. The running game of Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and even Jalston Fowler forms a nice trio – but Lacy has to hold on to the football.
The offensive line struggled a week ago, and this unit needs to respond strongly. It’s one of the best offensive lines in the country. The running backs only ran for 175 yards a week ago, and early on, Alabama had a tough time establishing the run.
Defensively, this team is as good as or better than anyone in the country. This unit will keep the Tide in every football game this season.
What You Need To Know About Penn State:
Penn State defeated Indiana State in week one 41-7. The Nittany Lions could likely play two quarterbacks in Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden in this game. Both only combined for 114 yards passing and no touchdowns last Saturday.
However, Penn State does feature the running game and will likely try to run the football against Alabama to settle their quarterbacks in. Sophomore Silas Redd will be the starter, as he rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries last week.
Senior wide receiver Derek Moye is the best player on the offense at 6-5, 202lbs with 4.5 speed, but Penn State could have a tough time getting him the football.
What I’m Looking At:
I am looking at two things in this matchup. First, I’m looking at Alabama’s quarterback AJ McCarron, and this will be his first road game. It comes at a very difficult place to play in Happy Valley. How will he handle this start? Will he be rattled? I am interested in seeing how he responds. Alabama will likely establish the run early to open up the passing game.
Second, this Alabama defense was just suffocating a week ago against Kent State. With the quarterback situation of Penn State shaky at best, Alabama will have be set to stop the run, making Penn State try and beat them through the air. Saban is especially good in these kinds of situations.