Lions, Bolden seeking revenge

Still feeling the pain of loss to Alabama


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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden is seeking revenge Saturday against No. 2 Alabama at Beaver Stadium.

"I want to get them back so bad," he said.

Bolden made his first road start in the second game of the season last year against the Crimson Tide, who were ranked No. 1 at the time and the defending national champion.

It was a rough night for Bolden and the Nittany Lions, who were thoroughly dominated in a 24-3 loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

He completed 13 of 29 passes for 144 yards and thew two interceptions. And the Penn State offense managed only one field goal, 32 yards rushing by Evan Royster, and turned the ball over three times inside Alabama's 30-yard line.

"I watched [that] game a lot," Bolden said. "Being out there is an advantage. Just taking what I learned and moving it to what I'm going to see [this] week will definitely help."

Penn State's defense also had its streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher snapped a year ago at 17 games. Alabama's Trent Richardson ran for 144 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown while subbing for injured Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

"When you get beat like we did, it always bothers you," defensive tackle and co-captain Devon Still said. "We're trying to take a different mindset than we did last year when we went down there. We just have to focus on more gang tackling like we did [Saturday] and just getting after it."

Penn State's defense still must contend with Richardson, who rushed for 37 yards on 13 carries but scored a game-high three touchdowns in Alabama's season-opening 48-7 victory against Kent State this past weekend.

"Richardson is a competitor," cornerback Chaz Powell said. "He's a guy that will hit you in the mouth."

"I definitely don't see a drop off from Ingram to Richardson," Still said.

"If Ingram hadn't been there, I'm pretty sure Trent Richardson would have won the Heisman, too."

Alabama's unsettled quarterback situation is very similar to Penn State's. Coach Nick Saban employed a two-quarterback system against Kent State.

Redshirt sophomore AJ McCarron got the start in the Crimson Tide's opener and played well, completing 14 of 23 passes for 226 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Redshirt sophomore Phillip Sims was 7 of 14 for 73 yards and threw two interceptions. He was sacked twice.

Saban said Monday he's not sure which quarterback will start against Penn State.

"We're not going to name a starting quarterback today," he said. "Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we'll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game, or if there's some combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us."

A year ago, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy completed 16 of 24 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns against a ragged Penn State defense.

"They put a good licking on us last year," said quarterback Matt McGloin, who did not play in the game. "But we're a different team this year and they're a different team. "Offensively, they're working in new quarterbacks, too. We know what they're going to do. We just got to prepare.

"This is the biggest game of the season for us, in my opinion. We need to stay focused, keep our offense on the field and move the chains."

Penn State coach Joe Paterno said after Saturday's lopsided 41-7 win against Indiana State that he planned to play Bolden and McGloin against Alabama. Bolden started the opener and played six series. McGloin played four.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us," Paterno said. "Alabama is one of the three or four best football teams in the country right now. It's going to be a tough ball game for us."

NOTES -- Powell was named Big Ten Conference co-special teams player of the week Monday after his 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Indiana State. ... Alabama assistant head coach Sal Sunseri, a former Pitt All-American linebacker, is joined on the roster by his youngest son, Vinnie, a freshman defensive back. He was named one of the team's specialists of the week after recording four of his six tackles on special teams against Kent State. Sunseri's oldest son, Tino, is Pitt's quarterback. ... Alabama, which last visited Happy Valley in 1989, leads the series, 9-5.


Ron Musselman: rmusselman@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rmusselmanppg.


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