-Penn State’s primary backs did not look good, especially Evan Royster. Granted, the Lions were facing the defending national champions, but it was a fairly inexperienced front and the passing game didn’t appear to have to much trouble moving the ball. To make matters worse, Silas Redd did well on some meaningful carries in the fourth quarter. It might be fair to say the senior Royster is on notice these next couple of weeks. If he continues to struggle, Penn State might have a running back controversy moving forward.
-Robert Bolden looked so-so, which is to say very good considering the circumstances. The interceptions weren’t good, but rarely did he make flagrantly poor decisions or get down on himself. He was benched in the fourth quarter, but the game was out of reach and Joe Paterno was likely only looking to get Kevin Newsome some snaps against a good team before facing Kent State and Temple these next couple of weeks. Bolden played with the cliche poise we've all talked about the last couple weeks, so it's hard to be anything but encouraged.
-The wide receivers didn’t help Robert Bolden tonight, dropping several on-the-money throws in big spots, though Derek Moye made a great play on the crazy fumble return in the second quarter to keep Alabama from going up 21-0.
-The offensive line again looked solid in pass protection, but struggled to open running holes against the Tide front. As mentioned above, some of this might have to do with the Nittany Lion backs, but if would have been nice to see some bigger lanes opened for them to trip through a couple of times.
-Penn State couldn’t tackle Trent Richardson. How much of that had to do with the Tide back’s skill and how much had to do with Penn State’s ineptitude is debatable, but there were several plays when the back should have been brought down but wasn’t.
-The secondary was exposed early, but settled down as the game went on. Julio Jones was kept quiet, catching only four balls for 49 yards. McElroy put up some great numbers for the night, but he was hardly the back breaker.
-For the second straight week, Penn State failed to generate a turnover. Tonight, one could have been a real game changer, but the Lions simply couldn’t make a play.
A loss is a loss, but not an altogether deflating performance. There were a lot of positives to take from this game. Joe Paterno said from the start that this was going to be a learning experience above all else and he appears to have been dead on. Penn State has two weeks to prepare for its trip to Iowa City on the first weekend of October. This is a great time to build on the lessons learned in Tuscaloosa and mature into a cohesive Big Ten contender.