Penn State Vs. Alabama: Nittany Lions Lose 27-11

Bookmark this stream for all the latest news as Penn State prepares to play Alabama.

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10 Total Updates since September 6, 2011
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Penn State Vs. Alabama Results: Crimson Tide Outclasses Nittany Lions, Winning 27-11

This update is from Adam Bittner, who is struggling with internet issues in the press box.

Team Rob Bolden? Team Matthew McGloin? Frankly, it doesn’t appear to matter right now. Neither is getting it done.

Penn State was thrashed 27-11 on Saturday afternoon, thanks mostly to poor quarterback play from both its starting hopefuls. Bolden was 11-for-29 with 144 yards and one interception in the loss to the Tide, and McGloin was even worse, finishing 1-for-10 with a yardage total of zero.

The Nittany Lions were in the game early against the Crimson Tide. Evan Lewis hit a 43-yard field goal to put Penn State ahead in the first quarter. Neither quarterback could find a rhythm from there, however, but Alabama’s A.J. McCarron was eventually able to put up enough offense, finishing 19-for-31 with 163 yards and one touchdown. It was all Alabama from the second quarter on, although the Nittany Lions did manage a one-yard Silas Redd touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game.

Penn State fans will likely point to a couple of questionable calls by officials early on in constructing the narrative of the Lions’ demise. Alabama appeared to be stopped short on a fake punt that would have set the Lions up with a short field. Ultimately, though, the offense probably wouldn’t have been good enough to keep pace regardless.

The Tide outgained the Lions 359 to 251 in total yards, and both Bolden and McGloin made a number of bad throws that could have been picked off that were not. If it’s possible, the score sheet paints a rosier picture of what actually happened down on the field today.

Fortunately for Penn State, there were some positives on defense. Linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti had nice days, each posting double digits in tackles. Devon Still and Jordan Hill were fairly effective on the defensive line.

Don’t expect that to undo a wave of criticism of the quarterbacks over the next week or two, though. They were simply outclassed on Saturday by a counterpart in McCarron with far less experience than both of them.

We’ll have all the post-game reaction from the press room here on the site. Stay tuned throughout the rest of the weekend.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama Score: Nittany Lions Down 17-3 At Half As Offense Sputters

Here’s a halftime update from Adam Bittner, who is struggling with internet issues as he reports from the press box.

Dreams of an upset in Happy Valley are dying quickly.

After taking a 3-0 lead early against No. 2 Alabama at Beaver Stadium, Penn State now trails 17-3 at halftime following three unanswered Crimson Tide scores.

Evan Lewis drilled a 43-yard field goal to cap off a 16-play, 54-yard drive to give Penn State its initial edge, but the offense has sputtered since. In the mean time, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has led the Tide with a 13-19, 110-yard and one touchdown performance, enough for three solid drives to give his team the lead.

Both Rob Bolden and Matthew McGloin have seen time at quarterback for Penn State, though Bolden has seen a majority of the action.

Neither has been effective.

Bolden completed just 5-14 passes in the half for 43 yards. McGloin, in two drives, was 0-3 passing. At this point, it appears little will be resolved on the quarterback front today.

Silas Redd was a bright spot early for the Nittany Lions, ripping off a couple nice runs on Penn State’s opening drive. The Tide defense has held him in check since, though. He has 46 yards on 14 carries, and his average yards per carry is down to 3.3.

The Crimson Tide will receive the second half kickoff and will look to take a three score lead. If they do, Penn State will be hard-pressed to mount any kind of comeback without some major adjustments on offense. Stay tuned.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama Prediction: What To Watch For

The return match against Alabama has many Penn State fans anxious. The weather and the strength of the opponent have many analysts skeptical of the Nittany Lions' chances.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Defense Readies To Face A.J. McCarron And Phillip Sims

Much like Penn State, Alabama's quarterback situation remains unsettled heading into this Saturday's contest between the two teams at Beaver Stadium. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban chose not to pick between A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims at his news conference on Monday, and it's anyone's guess who the Nittany Lions will face.

With that in mind, Penn State coach Joe Paterno knows his team has to prepare well for both. 

"As far as knowing exactly what to expect from either quarterback, I could not say we have the answer to that right now.  We don't," Paterno said at his weekly news conference on Tuesday. "We'll just have to play this thing and play it literally down-by-down, and if they alternate quarterbacks, whichever way they decide to go, we're going to have to be ready to handle whatever problems they give us."

A sophomore, McCarron is the older of the two candidates for the Tide's starting job. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 226 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on Saturday in Alabama's 48-7 win against Kent State. Last season, he was 30-48 for 389 yards and three touchdowns in limited time.

Sims, a freshman, saw action against the Golden Flashes as well, going 7-14 for 73 yards and two interceptions.

Asked if he thinks Alabama's lack of definition at quarterback is hard to prepare for, defensive lineman Devon Still seemed unconcerned.

"We're going to approach this week as we would any other team," Still said. "We're not going to focus on what quarterback is going to be behind center, we're just going to get after it and contain whatever quarterback is behind there. Whatever happens in the game, we've just got to adjust to it."

With all the uncertainty for both teams at quarterback, this week could be pretty unique. Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye said he's never played in a game in which both teams lacked a set starting quarterback heading into the game. Now it's just a matter of seeing how it all plays out.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Joe Paterno Says Curtis Drake "Getting Close"

When wide receiver Curtis Drake suffered a leg injury in spring practice, many feared he'd be lost for the 2011 season, just as he was for the 2010 season with a similar injury. Throughout the summer, however, Drake expressed optimism that he'd be back in time for the season and coach Joe Paterno thinks there's a chance he could be back soon.

"He's getting very close to where I think everybody will be comfortable that we can put him in there, let him play a lot of football," Paterno said at his weekly news conference on Tuesday "He's certainly got the physical ability to do it."

Drake was seen running and catching patterns down on the field Saturday before the Nittany Lions' game against Indiana State at Beaver Stadium. Paterno said they'll continue to run him this week and evaluate his status at the end of the week to see if he has a shot to go against Alabama.

The redshirt sophomore has just eight career receptions for 98 yards. However, as a former high school quarterback, he brings great versatility to the offense, and many think Penn State could deploy some wildcat packages with him back in the fold. That's something that could throw the Crimson TIde off guard on Saturday, so many will be watching Drake's status intensely.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Nittany Lions Preparing To Face Tide's Trent Richardson

Last season, Alabama running back Trent Richardson gashed Penn State's defense for 144 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in the Crimson Tide's 24-3 against the Nittany Lions in Tuscaloosa. Penn State defenders had trouble tackling Richardson all afternoon as he bounced off them like a pinball.

Saturday offers Penn State defenders a shot at redemption on their home turf when Richardson and his Alabama teammates roll into Beaver Stadium for the rematch, and defensive lineman and newly minted captain is looking forward to the challenge of stopping him.

"He's definitely an elite running back in college football," Still said at a press conference on Tuesday. "He's going to be tough to control Saturday, and we're just looking forward to practicing for Saturday."

Still said going up against Silas Redd, a back Still thinks is among the best in the country, in practice every day helps the Lions prepare for that they'll face in Richardson when kickoff comes around.

Stopping Richardson, however, will take more than bottling him up on the ground. The Penn State defense will also have to work to make sure he doesn't make the impact in the passing game that he did last season, when he pulled in four passes for 46 yards.

If the Lions' defenders can do that, they'll be well on their way to improving on their efforts from a year ago and possibly sparking an upset.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Joe Paterno Hopes To Take Field Against Crimson Tide

Joe Paterno coached Penn State's win against Indiana State from the press box as he continues to recover from injuries suffered in a collision with wide receiver Devon Smith at the beginning of fall practice. Tuesday, he entered his weekly press conference still using a crutch, but he hopes he'll be down on the field when his Nittany Lions take on No. 2 Alabama at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

"I've got my fingers crossed," Paterno told reporters. "I think I'm going to be able to be on the sideline, but there's a good chance I won't be."

Paterno said he felt good when he woke up this morning and probably would have been able to take the field had it been game day, but acknowledged that as the day progressed, he started feeling some pain.

Overall, Paterno said his recovery is making progress, though he is still feeling pain at times.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Joe Paterno Expects Anthony Fera To Play

Penn State's kicking game struggled mightily in Saturday's victory against Indiana State, as place kicker Evan Lewis missed two field goals and an extra point.

For that reason, it came as little surprise on Tuesday when coach Joe Paterno announced at his weekly press conference that he expects suspended punter/kicker Anthony Fera to return for this week's game against No. 2 ranked Alabama at Beaver Stadium. He also said he expects Fera's doghouse mates, running back Stephfon Green and cornerback Derrick Thomas to be "part of the ball game" as well.

"I asked them to meet so that they understood what this program is all about" Paterno said. "I think that we all feel comfortable that that they all deserve...that they're ready to go."

Even with Fera in the fray, however, Paterno acknowledged the kicking situation is still "up in the air" and that he's not sure what players will fill what roles this week. He said the staff will take the rest of the week of practice to evaluate and go from there.

It should also be interesting to see where Green fits into a Penn State backfield that had a lot of success on Saturday. Between Silas Redd, Brandon Beachum and Curtis Dukes, the Nittany Lions' tailbacks got the job done to the tune of 192 combined yards against Indiana State. Whether there's a role for Green, the senior, in that group at the moment remains to be seen, but he should be in uniform regardless.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Joe Paterno Stands By Plans To Play Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden

After Saturday's 41-7 victory against Indiana State at Beaver Stadium, Penn State coach Joe Paterno he expected to see both Matthew McGloin and Rob Bolden log time at quarterback against No. 2 ranked Alabama at home this coming weekend.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Paterno stuck to that game plan, expressing confidence in both players.

"You've got to understand, both those kids are so close," Paterno said. "And they're both good. Sometimes you guys don't realize these kids have worked so hard to have an opportunity, and they're so close that it's difficult for me to get up here and say 'Well so-and-so is better.' I think we're very fortunate to have this situation."

Paterno said the focus in practice will be getting the supporting cast ready to help the team, not just the quarterbacks, be in a position to win the game on Saturday. So if you're keeping score at home, it appears very little has changed on the quarterback front from Saturday to today.

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Penn State Vs. Alabama: Nittany Lions' Quarterback Competition Remains Unsettled

Joe Paterno says both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin will play against No. 2 Alabama on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

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