Penn State: Richardson, Alabama roll over Nittany Lions for 2nd year in row
Penn State's Nick Sukay loses his helmet while putting a hit on Alabama's Kevin Norwood Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State's Shawney Kersey catches a pass down to the 1 in the second half as the Nittany Lions attempted to come back. Defending is Alabama's Dee Milliner.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Two years, two routs.
It is a good thing Penn State does not have any future non-conference games scheduled against Alabama.
The Nittany Lions are not in the same class with the Crimson Tide anymore.
No. 3 Alabama thumped No. 23 Penn State, 27-11, Saturday before a crowd of 107,846 at Beaver Stadium.
The Lions, who lost, 24-3, last year in Tuscaloosa, were outscored, 51-14, in their two meetings with the Tide and committed seven turnovers, including three Saturday. Penn State (1-1) has not beaten a top 3 team at home since No. 3 Alabama in 1983.
"How much difference there is between the quality of the two programs, I don't know?" said Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who was forced to sit in the coaches' booth once again. "I don't think we played well anywhere."
Alabama (2-0) trailed, 3-0, in the first quarter, but reeled off 27 unanswered points before Penn State punched in a meaningless touchdown with 1:53 left.
Tailback Trent Richardson rang up his second 100-yard game in a row against Penn State, finishing with 111 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.
He scored on a 3-yard run with 35 seconds remaining in the first half and on a 13-yard run in the fourth quarter. A year ago, Richardson gouged the Lions' defense for 144 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Penn State's defense did not force a turnover for the second consecutive game against Alabama and allowed 359 yards offense.
"Richardson is a heck of a back," middle linebacker Glenn Carson said. "We slowed him for awhile, but, in the end, he still got his yards."
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron completed 19 of 31 passes for 163 yards. His 5-yard touchdown toss to tight end Michael Williams with 25 seconds to go in the first quarter gave the Tide the lead for good at 7-3.
Jeremy Shelley added field goals of 22 and 18 yards for Alabama, which limited Penn State's offense to 251 yards, including 107 on the ground.
Alabama's offense went 5 for 5 in the red zone, with three touchdowns and two field goals.
"Overall, I don't think we did a particularly good job with any aspect of it," Paterno said. "You got to be careful you don't take something away from Alabama. They played a good football game."
Penn State quarterbacks Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin struggled mightily and were hampered by four dropped passes.
Bolden completed 11 of 29 passes for 144 yards and one interception. He had two other interceptions overturned by replay. McGloin was 1 of 10 for 0 yards.
"I thought the quarterbacks played a pretty good football game," Paterno said. "But we got to catch the ball better for them."
In two games, Bolden and McGloin are a combined 24 of 59 (40.7 percent) for 258 yards with no touchdown passes.
"We're not worried about passing the ball or touchdown passes," McGloin said. "We're only worried about winning football games."
Bolden started for the second week in a row, but McGloin relieved him late in the first quarter. They pretty much alternated the rest of the way. Bolden led the Lions offense, which coughed up the ball twice on fumbles by tight end Andrew Szczerba and wide receiver Devon Smith, on both scoring drives.
He marched them 54 yards on the opening possession, but it took 16 plays and three timeouts before Evan Lewis kicked his first field goal, a 43-yarder, to give Penn State a 3-0 lead. Lewis missed field goals of 38 and 27 yards last week as well as an extra point.
With the game out of hand in the fourth quarter, Bolden engineered a 14-play, 71-yard drive, capped by tailback Silas Redd's touchdown on a 1-yard run. Bolden finished the scoring by running for the two-point conversion.
NOTES -- Punter/kicker Anthony Fera returned from his suspension as did cornerback Derrick Thomas. Fera had three punts for 47 yards. ... Tailback Stephfon Green did not dress for the game. Paterno said earlier in the week Green likely would return, but that was before Paterno learned Thursday that Green had been charged with purchasing alcohol for two minors on the football team.
First Published September 11, 2011 12:00 am