September 07, 2011
Posted by Joe Chuba
Nittany Lion play-by-play voice Steve Jones analyses Penn State’s match-up with Alabama.
Penn State and Alabama are about to find out exactly what each has. Both teams were not tested in their openers.
Nothing was resolved at quarterback… Both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin will play Saturday. What needs to be better in the pass game would be the protection and receivers making tough catches.
The running game got the job done Saturday. Silas Redd, Brandon Beachum, Curtis Dukes, Michael Zordich, and Joe Suhey had plenty of room to run behind the offensive line.
Defensively Penn State was strong all day forcing three turnovers, and consistently putting pressure on Indiana State quarterback Ronnie Fouch. Jordan Hill was very strong and very quick up front, while the secondary played instinctively.
The kicking game will be critical against Alabama. You can’t give away points or hidden yards in a game like this. Penn State’s return game was outstanding but a couple of missed field goals, an extra point, and short kickoffs will not help at all this week against this team.
Alabama has not decided on its quarterback. A.J. McCarron started last week because he is a redshirt sophomore, and Phillip Sims is a redshirt freshman. McCarron and Sims each threw two interceptions. McCarron to his credit was sharp early. He hit five of his first six passes for 99 yards, and had a fabulous throw to Marquis Maze for a touchdown. Early the throws were safe and the protection was really good.
Maze was the go to guy with a career high eight catches for a career high 115 yards. Maze was also a game changer in the return game both on punts and kickoffs thus the emphasis on special teams for Penn State this week.
Trent Richardson gained 144 yards against Penn State last season with 97 yards after contact. He got in some work last week with 13 carries for 37 yards and three touchdowns. Eddie Lacy is dangerous when he is in the game. He caught his first career pass on a swing play and went 37 yards down the sideline.
Up front Nick Saban was not pleased because they had trouble blocking MAC defensive player of the year Roosevelt Nix all day.
The defense is outstanding and has multiple looks. They play a base 3-4 but they move chess pieces all over the place, and will play nickel and dime on certain pass situations. Dont’a Hightower is completely healthy and a beast in the middle at 260 pounds, but they move him around and will even put him in a three point stance at times.
Mark Barron anchors a secondary that some argue is the best in the nation.
Special teams are solid with Jeremy Shelley handling short kicks and Cade Foster handling kickoffs and longer field goals, while Cody Mandell is solid on punts.
This is a showcase game that everyone has waited for and kickoff will be 3:30 Saturday in Beaver Stadium.
Author: Joe Chuba
Bio: Sports Producer for WPSU-TV
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