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    Football Preview: Penn State at Alabama

    PENN STATE at ALABAMA
    6 p.m. CT
    Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,000)
    Overall: 1-0
    XM: 141
    Sirius: 121
    LIVE TV: ESPN
    [Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Kirk Herbstreit, analyst; Erin Andrews, sidelines]
    Overall: 1-0
    SEC: 0-0
    XM: 199
    Sirius: 220


    THE COACHES

    Joe Paterno is in his 45th season at Penn State and overall with a record of 395-129-3 (.752). The Nittany Lions' offensive coordinator is Galen Hall and the defensive coordinator is Tom Bradley.

    Nick Saban is in his fourth season at Alabama with a record of 34-8 (.810) and 17th overall with a record of 140-67-1 (.675). The Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator is Jim McElwain and the defensive coordinator is Kirby Smart.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN PENN STATE HAS THE BALL

    Rob Bolden delivered a record-setting performance in the opener to earn Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honors. He was 20 of 29 for 239 yards and threw two touchdowns to Brett Brackett to deliver the best passing performance by a Nittany Lion true freshman starter in program history. Bolden was the first Penn State true freshman quarterback to start a game since Wally Richardson vs. Temple in 1992. Senior WR Brett Brackett set career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns against Youngstown State, as the co-captain caught eight passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Senior tailback Evan Royster earned first-team Big Ten accolades in 2009.

    The Crimson Tide has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in an astonishing 35 games, dating back to Oct. 13, 2007. Dont'a Hightower returns this season has 83 career tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and eight quarterback hurries. Hightower had three tackles - two solo in the season opener. Mark Barron led the league with seven interceptions while garnering third-team All-America honors last season. He registered 76 tackles to rank second on the Alabama defense.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN ALABAMA HAS THE BALL

    The Nittany Lions have not permitted an opposing rusher to hit the century mark over the last 17 contests. PSU was one of only three teams in the nation that did not allow a 100-yard rusher in 2009. Making his first career start, senior middle linebacker Chris Colasanti recorded a career-best 13 tackles. His previous best was six, set versus Eastern Illinois in 2009. Senior linebacker Bani Gbadyu had a career-best eight tackles, topping his former high of seven, set against Iowa in 2009. Senior co-captain Ollie Ogbu tied a career high with six tackles and Nate Stupar's 1.5 tackles for losses were a career high. His quarterback sack in the second half was the second of his career.

    Senior quarterback Greg McElroy passed for 218 yards and a touchdown while completing 13 of 16 pass attempts without throwing an interception in the season opener against San Jose State. McElroy has attempted 114 passes since his last interception versus LSU last season. Trent Richardson rushed for two touchdowns in the early stages of the season opener, scoring on a four-yard run to give Alabama a 7-0 lead with 11:38 remaining in the opening period, then racing 39 yards for a TD. Alabama's 2010 starting five on the offensive line got off to a good start in the season opener against San Jose State, churning out 591 yards of total offense (334 passing, 257 rushing) while allowing just one sack.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    Senior placekicker Collin Wagner had a big day last week, connecting on a field goals of 44, 49 and 48 yards. His 49- yarder in the second quarter was a career-long. Junior Chaz Powell electrified the Beaver Stadium throng with a 100-yard kickoff return to open the second half vs. Youngstown State. The return gave the Nittany Lions a 23-7 lead. Powell's kickoff return for a touchdown was Penn State's first since Derrick Williams took a kick back 94 yards for a score versus Illinois in 2008.

    The all-important special teams units from last season must be completely overhauled with the loss of record-setting placekicker Leigh Tiffin, four-year starting punter P.J. Fitzgerald and long snapper Brian Selman. Jones and a returning cast must replace All-America return specialist Javier Arenas, who was a mainstay returning kicks and punts during his career. Jones averaged 15 yards per punt return last season and has a 12.3 yards per return average in his career.

    SERIES/GAME NOTES
    Record: UA, 8-5-0

    Alabama and Penn State renew one of the great rivalries in college football on Saturday as the traditional powers face off in the newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium... It will be the 14th renewal of the series, but the first game since Oct. 27, 1990... The Crimson Tide lead the series 8-5 but the Nittany Lions own a 2-1 edge in Tuscaloosa with a 23-3 win in 1986 and a 9-0 victory in 1990... Alabama's only win over the Nittany Lions in Tuscaloosa came in a 6-0 win in 1984... PSU head coach Joe Paterno has been on the sidelines for all 13 meetings between the two schools.