Top-Ranked Alabama An Asserted Favorite At Home Over Penn State
September 8th, 2010- By Bryan Cross

The Alabama Crimson Tide and Penn State Nittany Lions collide in a top-25 showdown that could go a long way in determining the course of the national landscape for the rest of the season for the both the Southeastern and Big 10 conferences.

It has been 20 years since there two teams last met on the gridiron, and while there have been many that have come and gone, Nittany Lion head coach Joe Paterno continues to roam the sidelines leading the program.  Now, he takes No.18 Penn State into Tuscaloosa to face the top-ranked Crimson Tide.

For Alabama, they are still dealing with the suspension of Marcel Dareus, who will serve the second of his two-game suspension on Saturday, and will not be out there on the field with his teammates.  While Dareus’ absence went unnoticed last week in Alabama’s 48-3 romp of San Jose State, the defensive MVP from the National Championship game last season will be missed against Penn State.

Additionally, the Crimson Tide could be without reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, who missed the opener due to a knee scope the week prior.  Ingram is listed as day-to-day and head coach Nick Saban has said they do not know if he will be ready to go come Saturday night.

Fortunately for Alabama, they have a running back by the name of Trent Richardson, who is as good as any back in the country, even Ingram.  Richardson is an explosive back, capable of breaking tackles and getting into the second tier of the defense in the blink of an eye.  Combine that with quarterback Greg McElroy and wide receiver Julio Jones, and the Crimson Tide remain a lethal combination on offense, even not at full strength.

Richardson gained 66 yards and  two touchdowns in just one half last week, while back ups Eddie Lacy and Demetrius Goode also were effective.

“We really needed those guys to step up, and I think they did a great job,” remarked Alabama guard Barrett Jones. “Honestly, you couldn’t really tell there was that much of a dropoff and that is the way we wanted it. When one guy goes down, we can plug another guy in and have success.”

On the other side of the ball, the Nittany Lions have their own running back that is making headlines, in Evan Royster.  Royster needs only 440 yards this season to become Penn State’s all-time leader in rushing yards according to College Football Offensive Statistics.

At quarterback, the Nittany Lions start freshman Robert Bolden.  It was the first time in a century that Penn State started a freshman quarterback on opening.  He shined too, completing 20 of 29 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.

“You would never know he was a freshman, that’s for sure,” Saban remarked when reviewing film of Bolden. “He has a very good arm and is very accurate. He had a lot of poise. They didn’t have any game management issues, fumbled snaps, delay of games.”

USA Online Sportsbooks and College Football Betting Lines favor the Crimson Tide in this one.  Alabama has been installed as a 12-point favorite, with the over/under sitting at 44 points.

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