Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), Week 2 College Football, 7:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, September 11, 2010, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: PSU +11.5/Bama -11.5
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In Week 1 of the 2010 college football season, Boise State and Virginia Tech battled in an early season top 10 matchup that exceeded the hype. It turned out to be the game of the week and may end up as one of the best games all year. The game of the week this week is sure to be Penn State at Alabama, as a top 20 team visits the No. 1 team in the country. It will be difficult for a young Penn State team to win on the road at Alabama, but the Crimson Tide will still have to bring their A game to survive with a victory.
Penn State opened up the season with a 44-14 win over Youngstown State. Scoring 44 points is fine for a defensive-minded Penn State team. But allowing 14 points to Youngstown State is not a good thing. The Nittany Lions were down 7-6 late in the second quarter before scoring 38 straight points. Penn State was unable to force a single turnover while the Nittany Lions committed just one themselves.
Penn State’s pass defense did not fare well, allowing Youngstown QB Kurt Hess to go 21-for-25 for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
New PSU starting QB Robert Bolden had a decent debut with 239 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 20-for-29 passing. Running backs Evan Royster and Stephfon Green, the focal points of the PSU offense this season, combined for 17 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Brett Brackett had a standout performance with eight receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
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Alabama opened up its BCS title defense and preseason No. 1 ranking with a 48-3 win over San Jose State. QB Greg McElroy was 13-for-15 for 218 yards and a touchdown. RB Eddie Lacy had 13 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, the Crimson Tide ran the ball 39 times for 263 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama star WR Julio Jones had six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Defending Heisman trophy winner and Alabama starting RB Mark Ingram did not play in the opener because of a knee injury. His status for Saturday against Penn State is still up in the air. Without Ingram, the Crimson Tide still have a great cast of runners with Lacy, Trent Richardson and Demetrious Goode. And with the way PSU allowed Youngstown State to complete passes and with how accurate McElroy was against San Jose State, the Crimson Tide will have no problem throwing the ball all over the field against PSU.
Penn State showed a balanced offense against Youngstown State, but the Nittany Lions have the most talent and experience in their running game. They will need to get Royster and Green going to control the ball and score some points. Alabama allowed San Jose State to run for 89 yards on 29 carries. The passing game wasn’t any better at all, as the Spartans were 8-for-19 passing for 86 yards and an interception.
Stopping one aspect of Alabama’s offense will be key for PSU, and stopping the run, if Ingram is out, may be the more realistic option based on the way the Nittany Lions played in Week 1. They held Youngstown State to 97 rushing yards on 33 carries.
Penn State is 4-0 ATS in its last four road games, but 1-4 ATS in its last five non-conference games and 0-6 ATS in its last six September games, including an ATS loss against Youngstown State last week. Alabama is 7-1 ATS in its last eight September games, 4-1 ATS in its last five home games, 4-1 ATS in its last five non-conference games, and 5-2 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS win.
The under is 4-0 in PSU’s last four non-conference games, 5-0 in its last five games vs. SEC teams, and 4-1 in its last five September games. The under is 4-1 in Alabama’s last five games following an ATS win.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Many will view this as one of the biggest games of the weekend. I disagree though. I believe PSU is SERIOUSLY over-matched here and that Bama will easily win by 2 touchdowns or more. Take the Tide to beat the spread!