Review: Penn State vs Alabama


A tough game to review, and even uglier after watching it.  But still have pretty much the same thoughts.

One thought that fits in no where…

The spot of the fake punt was terrible.  No way did he make it.  Does that make a difference in the outcome?  Probably not, but we lost a ton of momentum.  It went from Penn State stopping Alabama at Bama’s 45 to Alabama scoring a TD.  That’s a huge swing in momentum anyway you put it.


Rob Bolden outplayed Matt McGloin in every single way possible.  From the field to the box score, Bolden beat McGloin.  That isn’t to say Bolden played all that well.  He definitely struggled throughout the game, but McGloin didn’t reach the level “struggle”.  He was literally as bad as could be.  No doubt in my mind, Bolden should be getting 90% of the 1st Team reps this week.

Now, how did Bolden play?  Well, like I said, he struggled.  He could never get a rhythm going, and he missed some plays every once in a while.  All expected though of a guy who is getting 50% of the work load he should be while going against the top defense in the nation.  I think if Bolden is able to play the whole way, we have a few more scoring chances.  That’s nothing but an assumption though.

Running Back

Not much to say here other than Silas Redd did everything he could to get the extra yards.  He’s quick, stronger than you think, and *knock on wood* he doesn’t fumble the football.  Be excited.  He’s most definitely the real deal, and that’s even with a somewhat crappy game (lack of holes).

I was surprised Beachum wasn’t used a bit more.  I thought early on in the season Beachum and Redd would be nearly 50/50, but it’s anything but that.  Wouldn’t mind a little more Beachum because he’s a great complement to any scat back.

Wide Receivers

Also not much to say here, but they sucked.  Alabama’s CBs were very physical with them, and the WRs curled up in a shell.  They dropped passes they should of caught, and played very mediocre.  Moye and Brown…no excuses.  They should be the best tandem in the Big Ten, and they played like MAC WRs.

As for Devon Smith, he just isn’t a good football player.  Many have said that Smith was always used the wrong way when that is completely wrong.  There is no right way to use him.  He isn’t a guy that is going to make you miss, and he’s a guy that you basically have to throw a perfect pass to on a deep route.  He’s small and fast.  I’m hoping as Curtis Drake continues to make his comeback, Smith’s role in the offense is decreased.

Might as well include Andrew Szczerba in here.  Basically, that fumble can’t happen.  Third and Long that we convert, and we give it right back to Alabama.  The fake punt and the fumble pretty much is the all you need to know about this game.

Offensive Line

The offensive line played very well, honestly.  They pass protected very well, and run blocking was going to be as good as it could have been.  Troutman had a game where you wonder why he doesn’t look like that every game.  He did very well.  Stank and Urschel both did well too.  To extend on Stank a little, he’s really been a pleasant surprise.  Basically everyone was worried about him, and he has been nothing but solid.

The OTs were a little pedestrian.  Pannell actually did pretty well though, considering the limited amount of RT snaps he’s gotten (Mike Farrell is the 2nd Team OT…RT and LT).  Unfortunately, Barham really did struggle.  He just isn’t an OT, let alone a LT.

Defensive Line

The duo of Still and Hill is beautiful.  Still is very much improved from last year.  Hill has continued his terrific play, and is even quicker off the ball now.  The only problem is that both these guys were gassed because of all the snaps they were playing.  Penn state really was pushing back Alabama’s OL for a majority of the game, and it was because of these guys.

I tweeted during the game that ’09 Crawford is back, which is partially true.  He looks way healthier and is quicker and stronger because of it.  Unfortunately, Crawford doesn’t give you much of a pass rush.  He’s just not natural at it.  But he played the run well, which is really the main key for him.

Lattimore was OK.  Didn’t play terribly, but also made zero plays.  Stanley was OK as well.  Was hoping for more of a pass rush, but Stanley just isn’t getting it yet.  Also, he looks much bigger this year.  Complete 180 from last year.


Michael Mauti played a good ball game.  Wasn’t great or Poz-like, but he played good.  Meanwhile, Hodges has the athleticism and even the instincts, but he wants to tackle people with his arms and shoulders.  He just needs to tackle better and focus more on the finer points, and I think we’ll see a major improvement.

Carson didn’t play his best ball game, but he didn’t play terribly either.  I think Fortt may have played just a little bit better, but both were didn’t do anything to overtake one or the other.

Oh, and Mike Hull is the man.  Just a very good football player.  The Mauti/Hull Nickel Combo is pretty sweet.

Bottom line though, the Linebackers are way better this year.

Defensive Backs

Not much you can do here.  When you are told to play 8 yards off the LOS on a 3rd and 3…what can you do?  I think Lynn struggled a little bit, but it wasn’t anything major.  Sukay played pretty well.  If he intercepts that pass that Maze caught, everyone probably says he played a great game.  Astorino played solid, and Powell played solid as well.

Really, it’s not so much grading the players as it is our scheme.  Basically, McCarron found the soft spots in our zone.

Special Teams

Evan Lewis came up big with the 43 yard field goal, but he had no other opportunities.  Fera had quite a few good punts, but the coverage team couldn’t find the ball as it rolled into the end zone.  Then of course the 50 yard punt return.  All started with the missed tackle, and then it was just hit the hole and go.

I’ll echo my comments from a few days ago, I still think this is a good team.  As long as they pick one QB and go with him, I think Penn State can definitely compete in the Big Ten.