No. 18 Nittany Lions Fall at No. 1 Alabama
Sept. 11, 2010
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Penn State turned the ball over three times inside the Alabama 30-yard-line and had four turnovers overall, and the No. 1 Crimson Tide posted a 24-3 win Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
In the first meeting between the national powers and old rivals since 1990, the Nittany Lions moved the ball against the Crimson Tide's Top 5 defense, but converted on only one of three Red Zone chances, getting a 36-yard field goal from Collin Wagner in the fourth quarter.
Alabama, which won its 16th consecutive game, led 17-0 at halftime. But, in the second half, Penn State out-gained the Tide, 152-121, and had more first downs (10-6) and earned a slight edge in overall time of possession.
Despite the loss, Penn State is 7-3 in its last 10 games against Southeastern Conference opponents.
In his first road game, true freshman quarterback Ron Bolden was 13 of 29 for 144 yards, with two interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver Devon Smith set career-highs with five catches for 47 yards and Derek Moye had a game-high 69 receiving yards on three catches. Bolden was not sacked for the second consecutive game.
Junior cornerback D'Anton Lynn made a career-high nine tackles, junior safety Nick Sukay had eight stops and sophomore DT Jordan Hill made a career-best seven hits. The Lions had three TFL to Bama's one.
Trent Richardson ran for 144 yards on 22 carries to snap Penn State's streak at 17 games of not allowing a 100-yard rusher. The streak was third-longest in the nation.
Alabama got on the scoreboard first on a 36-yard completion from Greg McElory to Kevin Norwood with 8:35 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
A beautiful 31-yard completion from Bolden to Moye got the Nittany Lions deep into Crimson Tide territory. But, Bolden was hit as he threw and Alabama's Will Lowery made a diving interception at the PSU 3. Trent Richardson then gained 60 yards on three consecutive carries to get the Tide out of trouble. On the first play of the second quarter, McElroy threw a 14-yard scoring toss to Preston Dial to give Bama a 14-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions took the ensuing kickoff and were on the move, as Bolden threw a 20-yard completion to Moye. Shawney Kersey then gained 24 yards on a reverse on the first carry of his career. Penn State drove to the Bama 16, but on a completion to Chaz Powell, he fumbled while trying to gain extra yardage. Alabama's Robert Lester picked up the ball and may have been headed for a touchdown when a hustling Moye caught him and forced a fumble that Brett Brackett recovered at the PSU 2.
A 31-yard field goal by Jeremy Shelley gave Alabama a 17-0 lead with 3:54 left in the half.
Stephfon Green took the second half kickoff 30 yards to get the Lions moving. Evan Royster gained 11 yards on their first snap of the half. On third down, Bolden connected with Justin Brown on a 20-yard completion to the Alabama 28. On third down from the 26, Bolden was intercepted by a diving Robert Lester at the Alabama 13 to end another Penn State scoring threat.
Richardson scored on a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter, but the Lions came right back to get on the scoreboard. Freshman tailback Silas Redd entered the game and gained 12 yards on consecutive carries to set-up a 17-yard completion from Bolden to Smith. Moye then hauled in a 18-yard reception and Wagner finished the drive by connecting on a 36-yard field goal with 9:47 left in the game. Redd gained 26 yards on just five carries.
The Nittany Lions saw their non-conference record fall to 62-13 since joining the Big Ten in 1993, having won 16 of their last 18 non-conference games. Alabama and USC in the 2009 Rose Bowl are the lone setbacks.
Penn State will return home to host Kent State on Sept. 18. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. at Beaver Stadium and will be broadcast to a national television audience on ESPN or ESPN2. Kent State (1-1) lost at Boston College, 26-13, on Saturday.
Tickets for the Kent State game and can be purchased at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 weekdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Penn State Athletics is on Facebook.